Art Gallery of Western Australia
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is the public Western Australian State art gallery that is part of the Perth Cultural Center in Perth. The Gallery houses the State’s art collection consisting of over 17,000 works of art, including 3,000 Indigenous works.
Explore the Art Gallery of Western Australia
- Adam by Auguste Rodin
Adam, by Auguste Rodin, represents the Adam named in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and in the Quran for the first man created by God. The Bible also uses the name “Adam” in a collective sense as “mankind” and individually as “a human.” Rodin’s Adam references the work of Michelangelo in art and sculpture. The right arm with the pointing finger is taken from the painted figure of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The left-arm references the dead Christ of Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Pietà. This sculpture suggests the beginning of life and the end of life and can be interpreted as the sum of an individual’s experience and emotional life.
This Rodin sculpture had its genesis in 1881 when Rodin received a commission for two large figures of Adam and Eve. Originally he intended the pair of sculptures to be placed on either side of a sculptured bronze portal called The Gates of Hell. This monumental sculpture piece commissioned in 1880 and which became Rodin’s life work as he continued to work on and off on this project for 37 years, until his death in 1917. This work of Adam was the first cast in 1910, and bronze casts of it are now in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musee Rodin, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and several other leading museums.
- “Down on His Luck” by Frederick McCubbin
“Down on His Luck” by Frederick McCubbin depicts a disheartened swagman or unlucky gold prospector, sitting by a campfire brooding over his luck. McCubbin’s iconic paintings of romanticized rural and pioneer life are as famous today as they were with his audiences in the 1900s. According to an 1889 review: “The face tells of hardships, keen and blighting in their influence, but there is a nonchalant and slightly cynical expression, which proclaims the absence of all self-pity … McCubbin’s picture is thoroughly Australian in spirit.”
The surrounding bush is painted in subdued tones, also reflecting the somber and contemplative mood. The scene was located near the Box Hill artists’ camp outside Melbourne. Note the prominent eucalyptus plant placed prominently in the foreground and painted in bold detail, reflecting McCubbin’s love of the Australian bush. One can imagine the campfire crackles while birds and cicadas call from the trees.
- “Breaking the News” by John Longstaff
“Breaking the News” by John Longstaff depicts the scene inside a miner’s cottage with an old miner breaking the unbearable news to a young woman of her husband’s death in a mining accident. The woman holds an infant in her arms, and two other miners are at the doorway, carrying the body of the husband on a stretcher.
“Breaking the News” became etched in the popular imagination, and by the 1890s was “known by reproduction in every mining township in Australia.” Painted when Longstaff was still an art student, it won him a traveling scholarship in 1887. At the time, it was described as “a vivid and accurate presentment of a familiar incident in Australian life.” According to a biographer, Longstaff’s childhood memory of a mining fatality was the direct inspiration for “Breaking the News”: “following the tragic cortège from mine-head to the cottage door, he had heard the stricken cry of the young wife at the sight of the stretcher-bearers’ burden.”
Art Gallery of Western Australia
- Name: Art Gallery of Western Australia
- Established: 1895
- Type: Art gallery
- Location: Perth Cultural Center, Perth, Western Australia
- City: Perth
- Museums in Sydney
- Museums in Melbourne
- Museums in Canberra
- Museums in Brisbane
- Museums in Perth
- Museums in Adelaide
- Museums in Darwin
Australian Proverbs and Quotes
“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”
Photo Credit: GM