How Newcastle Art Gallery selects works for the permanent collection.

Aug 27, 2016


Newcastle Art Gallery (NAG) has a rigorous and highly structured acquisitions process, governed by the Acquisitions and Deaccession committee which determines whether a proposed work of art enters the NAG collection. It may be proposed as a donation, or purchase. Acquisition proposals need to address strict criteria of Newcastle City Council’s Acquisitions and Deaccessioning Policy, including relevance and connection to Newcastle, NAG collection areas, and works of art that would contribute to the development and growth of NAG’s collection as one of the most significant in Australia.

The Gallery aims to collect Australian art of all regions with emphasis on:

  • Works of art pertaining to Newcastle and the Hunter Region
  • Works of art by outstanding artists associated with Newcastle and the Hunter Region
  • Representation of the full range of styles and movements in all major visual arts media
  • Australian contemporary art in order to ensure low cost and high value masterpieces for the future
  • Australian ceramics (20th Century – present day) to fully represent the development of this art medium
  • Japanese ceramics (20th Century – present day)
  • International works of art where they have relevance and inform the works of
  • art in the Gallery’s collection

A work of art can be a proposed donation from a benefactor, either as a direct donation or donation through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gift Program. The work may be available for purchase through a commercial gallery or an upcoming auction of works of art.


The process of acquisition begins with an offer to donate to the Gallery, or a targeted acquisition by the NAG Manager. Then the development of the proposal from the NAG Curatorial department is recommended to the Acquisitions and Deaccession committee by the Cultural Director, Newcastle City Council (NCC) for discussion and review. The Acquisitions and Deaccession committee comprises:


  • Cultural Director, NCC
  • A nomination by the Art Gallery Foundation Committee
  • A nomination by the Art Gallery Society Committee
  • An expert from an external organisation
  • A professional artist
  • The work of art is proposed to the committee. If it is approved, signed documentation is presented to the Director Planning and Regulatory to recommend final approval to the ICEO, NCC.
  • For works of art being supported by the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation
  • If a work of art is approved by the Acquisitions and Deaccession committee, a document for the NAG Foundation is developed and submitted to the Foundation at its monthly meeting for discussion, and approval is sought for a donation from the Foundation. The NAGF board then vote on whether to adopt the recommendation, based on the funds available.
  • The NAG Foundation do not have any influence over the works of art recommended as this approval process is sought solely through the Acquisitions and Deaccession committee. Recently, the Foundation supported the acquisition, William Dobell’s, Storm Wangi 1952. It was identified by the NAG Manager at the auction of the late Peter Elliott in August 2015. Elliott was a prior benefactor to the NAG collection of Dobell works on paper. It was identified as a key companion painting to the 1948 painting Storm over Wangi acquired by the Foundation in 2011.



Image: William DOBELL. Storm, Wangi © William Dobell/Licensed by Viscopy 2016