The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV,
is an art museum in Melbourne. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest public art museum
in Australia. The NGV operates across two sites: NGV International, located on St
Kilda Road in the heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct of Southbank, and The Ian
Potter Centre: NGV Australia, located nearby at Federation Square. The St Kilda
Road building, designed by Sir Roy Grounds, opened in 1968, and was renovated by
Mario Bellini and reopened in 2003. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia was
designed by LAB Architecture Studio and opened in 2002.
The NGV was founded in 1861. Victoria had been an independent colony for only
ten years, but in the wake of the Victorian gold rush, it was the richest colony in
Australia, and Melbourne was the largest city in Australia. In addition to
donations of works of art, donated funds from wealthy citizens have been used by
the NGV to purchase Australian and international works by both old and modern
masters. The NGV currently holds over 70,000 works of art. The Felton Bequest,
established by the will of Alfred Felton in 1904, has purchased over 15,000 works
of art for the NGV.
The National Gallery of Victoria Art School, associated with the gallery, was
founded in 1867. It was the leading centre for academic art training in Australia
until about 1910. The School's graduates went on to become some of Australia's most
The NGV's Australian art collection encompasses Indigenous (Australian
Aboriginal) art and artefacts, Australian colonial art, Australian Impressionist
art, 20th century, modern and contemporary Australian art.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, domestic art began to thrive
(particularly with the Heidelberg School in what was then an outer suburb of
Melbourne) and the NGV was well-placed to add an excellent collection of key
Australian works, which trace the metamorphosis of imported European styles into
distinctively Australian art. The NGV houses many of the most recognisable
Australian paintings, including Frederick McCubbin's The Pioneer and Tom Roberts'
Shearing the Rams.
The Australian collection includes works by Charles Blackman, John Brack, Arthur
Boyd, Louis Buvelot, Rupert Bunny, Nicholas Chevalier, Charles Conder, David
Davies, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, E. Phillips Fox, John Glover, Eugene von
Guerard, Hans Heysen, George W. Lambert, Sydney Long, John Longstaff, Frederick
McCubbin, Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Margaret Preston, Hugh Ramsay, Tom Roberts,
John Russell, Grace Cossington Smith, Arthur Streeton, Fred Williams and
A large number of works were donated by Dr. Joseph Brown in 2004 which form the
Joseph Brown Collection.
The NGV has an encyclopaedic collection of art. In addition to the Australian
collections, international collection areas include European painting (historical
and modern), fashion and textiles, photography, prints and drawings, Asian art,
decorative arts, Mesoamerican art, Pacific art, sculpture, antiquities, and
contemporary art. It has strong collections in areas as diverse as old masters,
Greek vases, Egyptian artifacts and historical European ceramics, and contains the
largest and most comprehensive range of artworks in Australia.
The international collection includes works by Bernini, Bordone, Canaletto,
Cézanne, Constable, Correggio, Degas, van Dyck, Gainsborough, Gentileschi, El
Greco, Manet, Memling, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Poussin, Rembrandt,
Renoir, Ribera, Rodin, Rothko, Rubens, Tiepolo, Giambattista Pittoni, Tintoretto,
Turner, Uccello, Veronese, and other masters.
In 2011 the NGV celebrated its 150th birthday and acquired a highly important
masterpiece by Correggio, one of the most influential figures of the Italian High
Renaissance. The work, titled Madonna and Child with infant Saint John the
Baptist, was painted circa 1514–15. The painting was purchased at Sotheby's
London for $5.2 million and is the single highest priced acquisition in the NGV's