Gallery has 500,000 reasons to celebrate

30 Oct 2018

Newcastle Art Gallery has added 49 works of art with a combined value of more than half a million dollars to its collection, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of private donors and a challenge from Sydney-based philanthropists James and Jacqui Erskine.

The Gallery will debut these works of art and celebrate the donors through a special exhibition THE ERSKINE PLEDGE: a gift to Newcastle, showcasing 12 artworks donated by James and Jacqui Erskine as well as 36 from the collections of other private donors.

Another major acquisition for the Gallery, The First Immeasurable - Love (an unbounded heart) 2017 by artist Lindy Lee, will be unveiled as part of the exhibition. It was gifted by the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation, with the assistance of the Newcastle Art Gallery Society and private donors.

"These works of art are invaluable additions to the Gallery's already substantial art collection and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks on behalf of the City to all of the donors, and particularly to James and Jacqui Erskine for spearheading this effort," said Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

In 2017, the Erskines challenged the Foundation to raise donations of either cash or works of art to the value of $250,000 and pledged to match that amount with a donation of art from their own private collection.

Through the combined efforts of Gallery staff and the Foundation, the challenge was met by early 2018.
Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said it was incredible to see the challenge met so quickly.

"This achievement highlights how working together can further advance the significance of Newcastle Art Gallery and the City's collection for the benefit of our community," she said.

"James and Jacqui Erskine laid down the challenge, and by doing so inspired more benefaction for the Gallery.

"Their generosity and commitment to Newcastle Art Gallery means that these fantastic works of art can be appreciated and enjoyed by future generations of Novocastrians."

THE ERSKINE PLEDGE: a gift to Newcastle will be on display at Newcastle Art Gallery from 3 November 2018 - 28 January 2019.

The Erskines' connection to Newcastle Art Gallery began when they were private lenders to the JOHN OLSEN: The City's Son exhibition in 2016.

James Erskine said the couple is gratified with the success of the challenge for Newcastle Art Gallery.

"For those of us who have been fortunate enough to collect, a thought: The suit you die in has no pockets, " he said.

"It’s a good feeling when many benefit from a few."

In fulfilling their generous pledge, the couple donated 12 works of art to the Gallery's collection by the following artists:

  • Steven Harvey
  • Linde Ivimey
  • Chris Langlois
  • Brett McMahon
  • Peter Sharp
  • Dick Watkins
  • Karl Wiebke

An additional 36 works of art featured in THE ERSKINE PLEDGE exhibition from other private donors are by these artists:

  • Earle Backen
  • Hatton Beck
  • Yosl Bergner
  • Charles Blackman
  • David Boyd
  • Lucy Boyd Beck
  • Judy Cassab
  • Ray Crooke
  • Shay Docking
  • Donald Friend
  • Tom Gleghorn
  • Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi
  • Nora Heysen
  • Louis James
  • Bernard Leach
  • Keith Looby
  • Elwyn Lynn
  • Margaret Olley
  • Hubert Pareroultja
  • William Peascod
  • Lloyd Rees
  • Rae Richards
  • David Rosetzky
  • Wendy Sharpe
  • Shigeo Shiga
  • Jack Carington Smith
  • Joshua Smith
  • Ken Unsworth
  • John Wolseley
  • Salvatore Zofrea

Caption for image above:

Lindy LEEThe First Immeasurable - Love (an unbounded heart) 2017 mirror polished stainless steel, LED lighting
155.0 x 55.0 x 55.0cm Gift of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation with the assistance of the Newcastle Art Gallery Society and public donations 2018 Newcastle Art Gallery collection