The National Gallery of Victoria has embarked on one of its most ambitious gallery re-hangs, canvassing every wall and corner of the 19th century gallery with more than 140 works of European and Australian painting and sculpture.
Presented in a 360-degree salon-style hang, with works covering all four walls from floor to ceiling, the 19th century gallery includes both European sculpture and painting, as well as the new addition of early 20th century Australian works, including those by Arthur Streeton and David Davies.
The densely-layered style of the hang, known as a salon hang, reflects the way paintings were typically shown publicly from the 17th until the early 20th centuries, most notably at the Paris Salon, founded in 1667, and at the Royal Academy, London, in 1768. This method was replicated in many public galleries around the world, including the NGV when it opened in 1861.
“We are delighted to reopen this gallery in a newly refreshed display, featuring more than 50 additional works,” says Tony Ellwood, Director NGV. “The public are often in awe of the grandeur of these predominately 19th century masterpieces and we are pleased to be able to contextualise Australian paintings within this rich display of works.”
Among the many highlights of the display is August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck’s highly emotional Anguish, 1878 – which depicts a ewe protecting a dying lamb from a murder of crows and is regularly voted by visitors as one of the most popular artworks in the NGV Collection.
Famously inspiring Lewis Carroll to create the character of the White Rabbit for his children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Edwin Landseer’s Shakespeare-inspired painting, Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Bottom, will also be on display.
Arthur Streeton was the first Australian-born artist to show at the Royal Academy and became a regular contributor from 1891 to 1924. The presentation of Streeton’s work Corfe Castle in a salon-style hang offers visitors to the NGV the unique opportunity to see this work as it would have been displayed in London in 1910.
The NGV’s 19th century gallery is now open at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Entry is free. For more information, visit: www.ngv.melbourne for details.
Image: Installation view of the 19th century gallery, NGV International – photo by Eugene Hyland