Crikey! Frick Acquires Trove of Australiana

  • Posted on Oct 10, 2011 by

Australia is about as far from New York as one can travel.  However, the three NYARC libraries have a small but important collection of materials about Australian art that brings the country from down under to the United States. In May and June 2011, the Frick Art Reference Library acquired 150 Australian exhibition catalogs. The majority of these catalogs are not widely available, with the Frick being the only library in the United States to own copies of some of the titles. Added to works about Aboriginal and post-WWII Australian art at the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Frick’s recent acquisition helps to form a high-quality consortial collection related to art in Australia.

Selection of exhibition catalogs from the Frick’s recent acquisition, 1967–2004.
Selection of exhibition catalogs from the Frick’s recent acquisition, 1967–2004. Photo credit: George Koelle

Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Geo. W. Lambert and Lionel Lindsay: Exhibition of Watercolours, Etchings and Woodcuts, titles recently acquired by the Frick with condition problems that will be addressed by the Library’s Conservation department.

Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Geo. W. Lambert and Lionel Lindsay: Exhibition of Watercolours, Etchings and Woodcuts, titles recently acquired by the Frick with condition problems that will be addressed by the Library’s Conservation department. Photo credit: George Koelle

Some names in the recent cache of exhibition catalogs, like Norman and Lionel Lindsay, may be familiar to those with a casual knowledge of Australian art. The Lindsays (Norman, Lionel, Percy, and Ruby) might be considered the “first family” of Australian art. Other artists are relatively unknown in America. The Frick’s acquisition includes artists as early as the Swiss-born Louis Buvelot (1814–1888), who immigrated to Australia in 1856, and as late as Clifford Bayliss (1916–1989), with the bulk of materials relating to artists born between 1855 and 1895.

Norman Lindsay’s Pen Drawings and Lionel Lindsay’s Exhibition, 1931 and 1925
Norman Lindsay’s Pen Drawings and Lionel Lindsay’s Exhibition, 1931 and 1925. Photo credit: George Koelle

Taken as a whole, the Frick’s recent purchase can be said to serve as an outline of Australian art between 1850 and 1950. The catalogs begin to form a comprehensive library for the study of Australian art in New York when combined with the materials available at the other NYARC  partners. Please visit Arcade to explore the full range of Australian art documentation available.

Mark Bresnan, Head of Cataloging, Frick Art Reference Library


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