Robert Smith Collection on show for first time

The inaugural exhibition featuring artworks from the Robert Smith Collection is soon to open at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre.

The exhibition, Noel Counihan, Robert Smith and Wonthaggi, will feature 26 works drawn from the Collection by curator Ken Scarlett OAM, an expert in Australian art and sculpture.

The exhibition will be on show from Monday, 30 March to Friday, 29 May and officially opened by art curator David O’Halloran, on Thursday, 28 March from 2.00pm.

Bass Coast Shire Deputy Mayor, Cr Geoff Ellis, said the exhibition focuses on the work of Noel Counihan, and reflects the time he spent underground with the coal miners of Wonthaggi during World War II.

“It also explores the evolution of those concepts in subsequent works,” Cr Ellis said.

“Expanding the research into the artistic lineage of Counihan’s work, the exhibition presents significant works from renowned international artists such as Francisco Goya, Käthe Kollwitz and Honore Daumier, whose style and interests would have influenced Counihan.

“Through this research, the exhibition reveals the core humanist values present in the Robert Smith Collection,” Cr Ellis concluded.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue containing commissioned essays from Ken Scarlett and Professor Ken Wach, with extracts from the writings of Bernard Smith and Robert Smith, as well as a summary of Roberts’s career by Ron Wilks.

The Robert Smith Collection was gifted to Bass Coast Shire Council by Mr Smith in 2017. It is made up of around 600 works, including limited edition prints, works on paper, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and photographs.

The works are by Australian and International artists spanning from the sixteenth century up to the millennium. The collection also includes a vast collection of books, magazines and periodicals.

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