An extensive collection of works on paper complements the Arts Centre's fine holdings of paintings, sculpture and textiles.
Among these works is a comprehensive suite of drawings of musicians, composers, performers, and conductors by Melbourne artist Louis Kahan. A gift of the ANZ Bank, the collection comprises over 100 works and dates from 1947, when Kahan arrived in Australia from Vienna. The result of the artist's lifetime love of performance, these drawings feature some of the luminaries of twentieth century music-making, including Isaac Stern, Dame Joan Sutherland, Igor Stravinsky, Jacqueline Dupre and Yehudi Menuhin.
A highlight of the Collection is a set of 33 etchings by Fred Williams, from his celebrated Music Hall series. These works were conceived during Williams' London period in the mid 1950s, when he spent many evenings in music halls watching and drawing the successive acts of comedy, magic, music, acrobatics, song and mime. A series of etchings by George Baldessin also explores the theme of performers on stage.
Sidney Nolan's Paradise Garden is the largest and most complex work in the collection. Comprising 1336 individual works displayed in 230 frames, it is testimony to the artist's vision and prodigious industry. The title of the work takes inspiration from Frederick Delius' orchestral interlude, The Walk to Paradise Garden. The series looks closely at the germination, growth and decline of Australian flora, used by Nolan as a metaphor for life. Nolan is also represented by a series of lithographs on the subject of Leda and the Swan, and a startling pastel drawing inspired by the opera Phaedre.
View catalogue records currently available online for works on paper from the Art Collection.
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