Wednesday, 15 November 2023

In the late summer of 1924, a group of 12 community members met to devise a plan to prevent an award-winning painting by Australian impressionist and local artist James R. Jackson from leaving Manly

The inaugural committee of Manly Art Gallery described the potential loss of the painting, titled Middle Harbour from Manly Heights, as a ‘catastrophe’.

“We the undersigned consider that it would be a distinct loss and almost a catastrophe if the prize-winning picture, painted by Mr Jackson, artist, and exhibited at The Manly Daily Art Exhibition should pass out of the district of Manly in the event of it being purchased privately”, the committee stated in the Manly Daily.

They raised funds by public subscription to purchase the work and gifted it to Manly Council. From this one thoughtful action, a beautiful community legacy began.

Next year Manly Art Gallery & Museum (MAG&M) will celebrate 100 years of public collecting, with a series of exceptional exhibitions and special events throughout the year.

Kicking off the celebration is Collection 100: Gifted, from 8 December 2023 to 18 February 2024.

The exhibition honours the philanthropists, artists, donors and members of the public whose contributions have shaped an impressive art collection.

James R. Jackson’s work will be on display in Collection 100: Gifted, alongside early works by renowned Australian artists Tom Roberts, Ethel Carrick, Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo and Max Dupain, and more recent works by Elisabeth Cummings, Wendy Sharpe and Katthy Cavaliere, among others.

Opening alongside this exhibition is Surface Effect: Ceramics Collection Stories, running from 8 December 2023 – 28 July 2024.

This exhibition emphasises the intricate interplay between ceramics, painting, and printmaking, revealing the common threads that unite artists in their creative processes. From ancient pottery to modern sculptures, ceramics have provided a canvas for painters to explore new techniques and styles.

Works by Belinda Fox & Neville French, Elisabeth Cummings & Barbara Romalis, Noel McKenna, Danie Mellor, and Guan Wei make visible the connections between ceramics, painting, and printmaking and the shared characteristics intrinsic to the artists’ hand.

The two exhibitions will be officially opened by award-winning artist and MAG&M donor Luke Sciberras on Friday 8 December, from 6-8pm.

MAG&M is the oldest metropolitan purpose-built regional gallery in NSW, and officially opened in 1930. The gallery continues to be a hub for creativity and culture, connecting artists, donors and the community for the benefit of all.

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