Established in 1896, the Geelong Gallery is one of Australia's leading and oldest regional art galleries. The Gallery's significant collection of over 5,000 works includes Australian and international paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts.
The Gallery is home to a number of iconic Australian paintings including Eugène von Guérard's The barter (1854), The Weatherboard Falls (1863) and View of Geelong (1856), Louis Buvelot's On the Woods Point Road (1872), Frederick McCubbin's A bush burial (1890) and Russell Drysdale's Hill End (1948).
The greatest strengths of the Gallery’s permanent collection are colonial paintings (including a splendid array of early images of Geelong and its wider region such as John Skinner Prout’s lithograph Geelong (1847), and Alexander Webb’s Yarra Street, Geelong (1872)); colonial metalwork (including Edward Fischer’s Geelong gold cup (1890)); English painted porcelain from 1750 to 1850 (Worcester, Buckingham Palace card tray (c. 1840–45)); works on paper (19th century to the present); and modern and contemporary Australian paintings, sculpture and decorative arts (including works by Fred Williams, Ann Thomson, Peter Booth, Juan Davila, Rosalie Gascoigne, Jan Senbergs and John Brack (The hunt (1988)).
The smaller but no less fine holdings of British and European paintings include The pier head (1910) by Alexander Stanhope Forbes, The Babylonian maid (1883) by Edwin Long, Reading the Bible (1840–45) by Thomas Faed, and On the Thames (1878) by Benjamin Leader.
The print collection ranges widely across British and Australian works, historical and modern, with particularly significant holdings of artists' books and contemporary prints (many of which have been acquired through the Gallery's acquisitive print awards, such as John Ryrie Æsop’s lamp (2007)).
A group of mostly smaller-scale sculptures includes maquettes for Inge King’s Forward surge (1972–73) and Geoffrey Bartlett’s Messenger (1982). Other notable works are Brett Whiteley’s Pelican (1983), Ron Robertson-Swann’s Putting on the Ritz (1978) and a group of major bronzes from the early 1980s by Robert Klippel.