People, Prints and Patronage: the developments of the Geelong Art Gallery's print collection 1900–19
People, prints and patronage, staged in the Geelong Art Gallery's centenary year, traces the development of the institution's print collection, from 1900 to 1996, through the designation of display spaces, the active collecting of prints from the 1920s onwards, the impact of the Geelong print prizes in the 1960s and 1970s and the increased availability of funds in recent years. As Geelong Art Gallery celebrated one hundred years of operation, it was fitting that consideration was given to this extraordinary achievement. The Gallery's recognition and support for the printmaking medium over such a considerable period is without parallel in a regional context.
The Gallery's commitment to the medium, from its formative years, gradually increased: with the significant purchase of numerous Lionel Lindsay works in 1944, through to the foundation of a contemporary collection in the mid 1950s and finally the development of a significant collection during the contemporary print revival of the 1960s and 1970s through the Geelong Print Prize exhibitions. In addition, the institution has also demonstrated a unique commitment to the housing of the print collection as it developed, an achievement which at times rivalled the activities of state art museums.
The institution was also an innovator in terms of the construction of special galleries for the display of prints and was the first regional art museum to establish a systematic approach to the collection, promotion and exhibition of contemporary Australian printmaking during the 1960s and 1970s.
The establishment of the Geelong Art Gallery in 1896 heralded a century of commitment to printmaking and print collecting.