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Robert Smith

Robert Smith Collection

Exhibition - Noel Counihan, Robert Smith and Wonthaggi

Noel Counihan Robert Smith Collection

Noel Counihan, Robert Smith and Wonthaggi

Curated by: Ken Scarlett

Dates: 4 August 2021 - 19 November 2021

Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10am - 4pm

Location: Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, 96 Graham Street, Wonthaggi.

Contact: 03 5671 2470

Catalogue: Contributions by Prof Ken Wach, Bernard Smith, Ken Scarlett, Robert Smith and Ron Wilkes.

The Robert Smith Art Collection

The Robert Smith Collection’ comprises 596 works by Australian and International artists working in date range from 1500 to 2000. The Collection focuses on Australian and International artists who express humanist values and/or a social commitment in their work and links back to the Wonthaggi region through the emphasis on manual labour, industry (including mining) and working class life.

Australian works range from the mid-19th century gold-field inspired commentaries of S. T. Gill through to a major collection of mid-20th century works by the internationally known and respected artist Noel Counihan. The collection of Counihan works is extensive (83 works in total) and is on par with major Australian museum collections. It includes two major paintings from his anti-Vietnam series. Other important artists and contemporaries of Counihan’s including Vic O’Connor, George Luke and James Wigley are also represented, but with fewer examples.

Another strength of the Collection is the component of graphic art by English, French, Dutch/Flemish, German, Spanish and Mexican artists. Examples of works by a number of famous artists including Rembrandt, Durer, Goya and Picasso are augmented by the concentrated focus on the 18th century English caricaturist, Thomas Rowlandson (13 works), the early 20th century German expressionist artist Kathe Kollwitz (28 works) and an extensive collection of lithographs by the 19th century French realist, Honore Daumier (216 works). Again, the breadth of the Collection puts it on par with many public institutions.

The Collection can be accessed on-line through Collections Victoria.

The Book Collection

A subsidiary Book Collection was donated along with the Art Collection. These reflect the wide-ranging research interests of Robert Smith – a well-known Australian scholar and writer – on art, theatre, music, politics and popular culture.

The Robert Smith Book Collection catalogue can be accessed via West Gippsland Libraries.

The Book Collection is housed in Wonthaggi and is accessible by appointment only.

To arrange an appointment please contact Bass Coast Shire Council on: