Wednesday, July 12, 2017

From Armidale to Bega: sharing the remarkable Hinton art collection


Esther Paterson (1896-1971), The Yellow Gloves, also known as Portrait of Betty Paterson. Oil on board. Gift of Howard Hinton, 1939. This is but one of the Hinton paintings I remember from my childhood. 
Visitors to the exhibition Treasures of Australian art 1880-1940: the Howard Hinton Collection opening at 10am on Saturday 15 July at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery will discover one of the most significant art collections in regional New South Wales.

The exhibition will feature forty-four key works from the Howard Hinton Collection at the New England Art Museum (NERAM) in Armidale including paintings by Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Margaret Preston, Nora Heysen, Hans Heysen, Norman Lindsay, Elioth Gruner and Herbert Badham.

“Howard Hinton was an extraordinarily generous man who gave away these fabulous artworks during his own lifetime and this exhibition is just a small selection of what is to be found here in one of the most significant art collections in regional Australia,” said Robert Heather, Director of the New England Regional Art Museum. “We hope that the exhibition inspires visitors to come and see more of The Howard Hinton Collection in Armidale.”

“Howard Hinton donated over 1200 artworks to the Armidale Teacher’s College between his retirement in 1929 and his death in 1948,” said Mr Heather. “Every year zinc lined packing cases would arrive bearing artworks and be opened by the staff, than the collection was hung in lecture theatres, offices, hallways and the library of the College, where the artworks stayed for over fifty years.”


Tom Roberts (1856-1931), Mosman's Bay, 1894.Oil on canvas. Gift of Howard Hinton 1933. Those who know Mosman will recognise the building in the centre. Hinton was insistent that the collection not be broken up, that it be preserved in perpetuity and displayed for the benefits of students.
“Hinton collected with the express aim of providing student teachers with access to the history of Australian art from the 1880s until his own time with an emphasis upon genres such as landscape, still life and portraiture. It also provides a unique glimpse into the art scene in Sydney in the 1930s and 40s when Hinton was a significant benefactor and supporter of many artists.”

“We are privileged to be able to show these iconic works from this nationally important collection and partner with the New England Regional Art Museum to bring them to our community for the enjoyment of local audiences and visitors,” said Iain Dawson, Director, Bega Valley Regional Gallery. “The story behind Howard Hinton collection is one of the most intriguing in the history of benefaction and art philanthropy in Australia.”

Norman Carter (1875-1963), Portrait of Howard Hinton 1936. Oil on canvas.Gift of the Armidale Teachers' College staff and students of the 1935-36 session. For most students coming from across Northern NSW, the Hinton paintings were the first original art they had seen and opened a new world. In making the collection available to other galleries, NERAM is staying true to the intent behind Hinton's original bequest.     
Howard Hinton OBE (1867-1948) arrived in Sydney as a young man in the 1890s and lived with artists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton in camps around Mosman and Cremorne. He soon found work as a clerk with the shipping agents W & A McArthur Ltd, rising to the position of Director in 1916, and retiring in 1928.

Described as a ‘modest and self-effacing gentleman’, he lived in ‘Hazelhurst’, a boarding house in Cremorne with a small selection of artworks and books. A lifelong lover of the arts who had aspired to be an artist when younger, he was a regular fixture as art exhibitions around Sydney and was a Trustee and donor to the (then National) Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Following his retirement he started donating hundreds of paintings, sculptures, books, prints, drawings and other artworks to the new Armidale Teacher’s College. The College opened in temporary premises in 1928 with the first painting, The Lock Gates by Sir Adrian Stokes. RA,.arriving in 1929 in advance of the opening of the College's new building. Hinton was warmly welcomed by students, staff and the wider community on his rare visits. He died of severe pneumonia and heart failure in 1948 and the final shipment to the college included the small selection of artworks that had been in his room at the boarding house.

Community concern about the collection following the closure of the Armidale College of Advanced Education led to it being relocated into the purpose built New England Regional Art Museum in 1983, where it now forms the basis of regular exhibitions, displays and other programs that are seen by thousands of visitors to the beautiful university town of Armidale.

The exhibition was originally developed as a partnership in 2016 between the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre and the New England Regional Art Museum.

Exhibition Venue:
15 July – 30 September 2017
Bega Valley Regional Gallery
Zingel Place
BEGA NSW 2550
Open 10am-4pm Monday-Friday, Saturday 10am-12noon, Admission free

About Bega Valley Regional Gallery
The BVRG is a regional gallery in south eastern New South Wales, half way between Sydney and Melbourne. The gallery is an important resource for its artistically rich and diverse community and works collegiately with fellow professional arts organisations, fLiNG Physical Theatre, Four Winds Festival and South East Arts who collectively deliver engaging, challenging and innovative programs of both artistic and educational excellence. The Bega Valley Regional Gallery is funded by the Bega Valley Shire Council, and the NSW Government through Create NSW.


About New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM)
The New England Regional Art Museum opened in 1983 to house The Howard Hinton Collection and The Chandler Coventry Collection in the grounds of the former Armidale Teacher’s College. Today NERAM’s nationally significant collections of over 5000 works of art form the basis of the gallery’s programs. Visitors to NERAM can enjoy changing art exhibitions and other art activities, see the Museum of Printing, NERAM cafĂ© and the Museum Shop.

For more information: http://www.neram.com.au

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