Since its foundation in 1887, the Bendigo Art Gallery Collection has grown to showcase the diverse history of Australian art and design, including First Nations art, colonial and 19th century European and Australian painting, 20th century and contemporary Australian art, and the newly founded Australian Fashion Collection, focusing on First Nation designers and outstanding examples of contemporary Australian fashion, textiles and design.
Our Collection includes paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, works on paper, textiles and clothing, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery and furniture. Of our more than 5,000 works, approximately 20% of the Collection is now online to view. We are continuously increasing our online access to the Collection with more items being added regularly.
Modern and contemporary
Our collection of modern and contemporary art is extensive and varied including painting, sculpture, ceramics, decorative arts, photography and works on paper.
The collection includes works by artists such as Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson, Dale Frank, Jan Nelson, Fiona Hall, Ben Quilty, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Kit Webster, and Ben Armstrong.
Australian Fashion Collection
Bendigo Art Gallery has a long-held reputation for presenting outstanding exhibitions featuring costume and fashion, but until now has not included textiles in the permanent collection.
Fashion is a manifestation of human art and identity. It helps us artistically communicate who we are, who we want to be, where we are going, and where we have been. In launching the Australian Fashion Collection Bendigo Art Gallery is acknowledging the important contribution of fashion to art and design and sending a clear message of support to Australian designers.
As the name infers, the Australian Fashion Collection will focus on collecting contemporary Australian designers, with a particular focus on First Nations practitioners. Your donation will enable Bendigo Art Gallery to acquire outstanding examples of contemporary Australian fashion, textiles and design, building a unique collection for future generations whilst simultaneously supporting living artists and designers.
Representing artists from communities across Australia, our collection of First Nations art celebrates Indigenous Australia’s enduring cultural heritage and the evolution of contemporary Indigenous art.
We are committed ensuring First Nations arts and artists are well-represented within our Collection, and to building and maintaining meaningful relationships with First Nations peoples, artists, communities, organisations and cultures.
Please note that this site includes images, works and names of deceased First Nations people and may include images of artistic, cultural or intellectual property that may be of a sensitive nature. We have made efforts to ensure that restricted works are not shown. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have reason to believe any records contain sensitive, sacred or restricted content, and therefore should not be publicly available.
19th century Australian art
Our collection of 19th century Australian art depicts a period in our history of wealth and nation-building, hard work and new beginnings.
A particular strength of the collection is the numerous oil paintings and sketches of the local area when it was the site of one of Australia’s richest gold rushes (1850-1900). Those works reflect the early landscape as it was transformed by mining hopefuls and reflect place names unfamiliar (Sandhurst) and familiar.
Walter Wither’s The Drover depicts the Victoria countryside familiar in early Australian life - a drover guiding sheep, the dust rising from the dry earth around them, the scene conveying the intense light and heat of a summer's day.
Thomas Wright's Sandhurst in 1862, George Rowe's Kangaroo Flat, c 1857, and ST Gill's Eaglehawk Gully, Bendigo c1852 capture and reflect the initial gold rush on the Bendigo goldfields, through to the city's formation as a burgeoning regional centre.
The Gallery also has a strong collection of early 20th century Australian art including works by proponents of the Heidelberg School such as Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Walter Withers.
The Collection has a special focus on expatriate Australian artists from the turn of the century to the 1940s, artists who for many decades were forgotten by the Australian public, including Agnes Goodsir, Bessie Davidson and Mary Cecil Allen.
19th century international art
This collection of English and European landscapes, allegories and portraits includes some remarkable paintings, sculptures and decorative arts reflecting European salon trends of the mid-to-late 19th century.
When these works entered our collection they were considered essential to any serious Australian art collection.
British works in the collection include sentimental works such as Homeless by Thomas Kennington, Too Late by Herbert Schmalz, and the stunning photo-realism of the The Arab Blacksmith by Thomas Sheard.
Our substantial collection of French paintings was donated by renowned local doctor JA Neptune Scott in the middle of the 20th century. Some of the most notable artists whose works form the Scott collection are Alfred Sisley, Charles Francois Daubigney and Eugene Isabey.