Newcastle Art Gallery's collection presents a comprehensive overview of Australian art from colonial times to the present day. Accentuated by several key pieces of historical importance, a diverse range of Indigenous bark paintings and the nation's finest collections of twentieth century Japanese ceramics and Australian ceramics, Newcastle Art Gallery's collection is of national significance.
The collection began in 1945 when Dr Roland Pope, an ophthalmic surgeon from Sydney, promised to bequest his collection to Newcastle on the condition that an art gallery was constructed. The Gallery opened under the name of 'Newcastle City Art Gallery' in 1957 on the second floor of the War Memorial Cultural Centre, adjacent to the Gallery's current home. In the mid-1970s the Gallery's current building was constructed and was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Friday 11 March 1977. Read more about the Gallery's history on the History page.
There are over 6,500 works of art currently in the Gallery's collection, celebrating a wide variety of styles and mediums. Within our main collecting areas of Ceramics, Painting, Photography, Prints & Drawings, Sculpture and Video & New Media both colonial and contemporary works are represented, celebrating Novocastrian, Australian (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and at times international artists. Key artists include: Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, Rupert Bunny, Judy Cassab, Grace Cossington Smith, John Coburn, William Dobell, Donald Friend, Bill Henson, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, Patricia Piccinini, Margaret Preston, Lloyd Rees, Alex Seton, Brett Whiteley, Michael Zavros as well as an extensive Australian and Japanese ceramics collection including the prestigious Sodeisha collection. The collection is conserved, maintained and developed by the Gallery's Curatorial team.
Key benefactors to the collection have included Dr Roland Pope, Anne Von Bertouch, Dr William Bowmore, James Erskine, Jack Noel Kilgour, Ann Lewis AO, the former chairman of Nippon Steel - Shigeo Nagano, Margaret Olley, Les Renfrew, Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation, Newcastle Art Gallery Society, Newcastle Art Gallery Guides as well as countless artists and private or anonymous donors. The collection is continually growing with new acquisitions every year. All proposed acquisitions are approved by the Acquisitions and De-accessioning Committee and City of Newcastle before entering the collection. Please get in touch if you are interested in donating: email us here.
Copyright and image reproductions
Newcastle Art Gallery seeks to maximise public access to its collection and exhibitions. Currently, a representative sample of the Gallery's collection is online. The Gallery is constantly improving and adding to the information on this website through research and scholarship, with images and updates being made to records on a regular basis. The Gallery is working towards increasing the number of works available for online viewing.
Where possible, works of art displayed on the site are accurately attributed with the creator’s name, year and materials, and approved by the copyright owner or their agents. The Gallery is committed to obtaining consent from copyright holders, however, despite carrying out due diligence in trying to trace rights holders, some identities remain unknown. Illustrating these works of art online is one of the best ways to discover copyright holders; if there are any inaccuracies or you have any information, please contact the Gallery.
Unless permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), (e.g. for the purposes of research and study) images and text on this website may not be reproduced, downloaded, copied, published, or used without permission. Requests for image reproduction and publication of the Gallery's works of art should be made in writing to the Gallery's Curatorial team: email us here or call 4974 5100.
Works of art in the collection that are not on display can be made available for viewing. A minimum of four weeks' notice is required. In special circumstances, time frames can be reviewed by the Curatorial team. To book you must provide your request in writing: email us here