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(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).

Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...


(b Łódź, Poland, March 30, 1918; d Melbourne, Australia, Aug 24, 2009).

Australian collector and dealer. He settled in Australia with his Polish Jewish family in 1933. He won a scholarship to the Brunswick Technical Art School, Melbourne, but his studies were curtailed by the depression of the 1930s, and he was obliged to seek work. After a successful business career in the fashion industry, Brown opened an art gallery in Melbourne in 1963, where he held one-man exhibitions and published important catalogues of Australian art. He became an authority on the subject and a consultant to museums, libraries, galleries, and universities throughout the country. He was best known for his large collection of Australian art, assembled over a 40-year period and ranging from colonial, Victorian, and Impressionist works to 20th-century abstract and contemporary art. He bought many of the works at small cost, at a time when Australian art was thought to be beneath consideration by most Australian collectors. The collection, originally housed at ...


Australian, 20th century, male.

Born 8 July 1902, in Edinburgh; died 30 September 1972, in Adelaide.

Painter, gallery administrator. Landscapes, seascapes.

Robert Richmond Campbell moved to Brisbane, Australia, with his family in 1916. He began working as a commercial artist. In 1928 he travelled to Europe with Rupert Bunny. Having spent time in France, Spain, England and Scotland, he returned to Australia in ...


David Cohen

(b London, Feb 20, 1911; d London, April 1, 1984).

English collector and writer. Born into a wealthy family that had made its fortune in Australia, he studied at the universities of Oxford and Freiburg and at the Sorbonne in Paris. When, in 1932, he resolved to spend one third of his inheritance (approximately £100,000) on art, he decided to amass the best examples of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger, concentrating on their Cubist works of 1906 to 1914. The high calibre of his collection must be attributed in part to this early and consistent focus of attention. He also collected other works by these four artists as well as works by artists unconnected with Cubism, but his principal energies and resources always reverted to this primary objective. After World War II, for example, he sold off most of his works by Joan Miró and Paul Klee to finance the acquisition of superior pieces within his preferred area, but the core of his ...


Robert Smith

(b Maldon, Essex, Nov 8, 1831; d Melbourne, Jan 8, 1904).

Australian philanthropist and businessman of English birth. In Britain he was apparently apprenticed to an apothecary before migrating to Victoria in 1853, where he profited from transporting supplies to the gold-fields in a horse-drawn dray. This enabled him to go into business in Melbourne, where by 1857 he was established as an importer and agent, and four years later he was recorded as a wholesale pharmacist. In 1867 in partnership with F. Grimwade he acquired control of a chemical supply company of which Grimwade had been manager. They prospered as Felton Grimwade & Company, dominating the market and establishing subsidiaries in other Australasian colonies. They also expanded into related fields of manufacturing such as acid works, glass making, eucalyptus oil extraction and salt production. Felton also personally invested in several rural properties.

Although probably largely self-educated, Felton had a keen interest in art and literature. He is recalled as a moderately eccentric bachelor who lived frugally in modest lodgings at the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, where he kept his large collection of books and works of art. He was a dedicated philanthropist, and during his lifetime he regularly donated large sums to various charitable causes. He bequeathed his fortune for the equal benefit of the ...


Nancy Underhill

Australian artists’ co-operative gallery that existed in Sydney between 1970–72. It was the first co-operative gallery in Australia run by artists and it championed conceptual and performance art. The core organizers were mike Parr, Peter Kennedy and Tim Johnson, but anyone who contributed to the rent could be a member and exhibit. While it had no manifesto, nor formal pattern to its exhibitions, Inhibodress challenged dominant aesthetic practices and social structures, including American cultural and military imperialism. The burning aesthetic issue was, what constituted art? For the avant-garde, co-modification of the precious object was unacceptable, so alternatives to commercial galleries, museums, the singular art-maker, or even oil painting were sought.

Inhibodress and, in particular, Parr and Kennedy, espoused Marshall McLuhan’s ideal of a global village and developed a network with overseas artists, venues and magazines, which included the Nova Scotia Art School, Guerrilla Art Action Group of New York, Fluxus, Patricia Minardi’s Feminist Art Journal and the magazine ...


[tribal art]

The market for ‘tribal art’ emerged in the first decades of the 20th century. By way of avant-garde artists and pioneering dealers, African and Oceanic art slowly became accepted as ‘art’—with its inclusion in the Musée du Louvre in Paris in 2000 as a decisive endorsement. Initially, it was referred to as ‘primitive art’—alluding to an early ‘primitive’ stage in human development; later replaced by the equally biased ‘tribal art’. While still used widely among dealers and collectors (for want of a better word and being conveniently short), the term ‘tribe’, or its derivative ‘tribal’, is frowned upon by the scholarly community.

The foundations of the tribal art market were laid at the turn of the 20th century. European powers colonized large overseas territories in both Africa and Oceania and, along with other commodities, there arrived ethnographic artefacts. Europeans had conducted coastal trade with many African regions over centuries, but systematic explorations of the continental hinterland did sometimes not take place until the first decades of the 20th century. These resulted in the discovery of previously unknown cultures whose ritual objects, such as masks, were displayed during world’s fairs and colonial exhibitions. Many of these objects ended up in newly established museums, such as the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, outside Brussels. Vigorous competitors in the collection of ethnographic objects in both Africa and Oceania, these museums became the leading players in the early phases of the tribal art market’s development. Next to these large-scale official collecting activities, colonial, military, or missionary personnel also brought home exotic objects....


Nancy Underhill

(b Sydney, Oct 12, 1881; d Jersey, Channel Islands, Aug 1, 1943).

Australian painter and patron. In 1920 his private income allowed him to stop practising medicine and to study art in Paris, where he explored how geometry could influence painting. He exhibited work in London, Paris and Brussels that reflected his awareness of Surrealism and of Cubism; he was one of the first Australian artists to apply Cubist spatial theory to art. Despite Power’s art being of minor influence on Australian art, two of his paintings Fleurs du Mal (1926) and Woman with Parasol (1927) form an important study collection at the University of Sydney as part of the Power Bequest.

Power bequeathed his collection of art to the University of Sydney. In addition, in 1962 the university received £A4 million as a benefaction from Power, whose aim was to ‘make available to the people of Australia the latest ideas and theories in the plastic arts by means of lectures and teaching and by the purchase of the most recent contemporary art of the world’. The bequest assisted various flexible, interlocked programmes based at the university: for example the library and public lecture programme run by the Department of Fine Arts and the publishing of monographs. A large survey collection of contemporary Western art was developed and in the 1980s much of the bequest’s income was used to develop ...


Nancy Underhill

Australian family of collectors. John Reed (b Evandale, Tasmania, 10 Dec 1901; d Bulleen, Victoria, 5 Dec 1981) and Sunday Reed [née Baillieu] (b Melbourne, 1905; d Bulleen, Victoria, 15/16 Dec 1981) were the most aggressive and possessive supporters of avant-garde painting in Melbourne during the 1940s. At their home, Heide, a changing group, of which Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester and Albert Tucker formed the core, read the work of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, practised subjective or intuitive writing and engaged in figurative painting. Both the lifestyle and art practice at Heide flouted Australian support for official institutions and the retention of a national pastoral identity via landscape painting.

John Reed, a lawyer, published and co-edited the journal Angry Penguins. Devoted to contemporary debate in the arts and literature, its edition of 1944 split the intelligentsia by publishing in good faith a poem by the unknown ‘Ern Malley’, which was soon exposed as a composite hoax meant to undermine ...


Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...


Harley Preston

(b Sydney, Aug 15, 1835; d London, Dec 12, 1909).

British collector of Australian birth. He was the younger son of Danish immigrants to New South Wales, his father being a wealthy Sydney business man with agricultural interests. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and, from 1848, at Eton College, Berks, returning to Sydney in 1853 where he studied classics at Sydney University (1854–7). The family returned to London, and after one term at Balliol College, Oxford University, George travelled with his father to Italy. He visited Rome in 1858 and the following year Florence and Naples, photographing archaeological monuments and visiting museums and galleries. After his father’s death in 1865 he devoted his life and inheritance of some £30,000 per annum to the dedicated collection of art of the highest quality and finest condition while living a life of noted austerity at the Thatched House Club in St James’s, London. Often using expert advice, he acquired Classical antiquities, small-scale sculpture and carvings in various media, Eastern and Western ivories, West Asian and European ceramics (including Italian maiolica, Hispano-Moresque wares, work by ...