Art Collection

La Trobe University Art Collection

La Trobe University Museum of Art aims to acquire, conserve and exhibit a major public art collection of demonstrable excellence and significance that reflects the diversity of art produced, especially since the establishment of La Trobe University, for the cultural enrichment, education and research enterprise of the University's student body, staff and the wider community.

The La Trobe University Art Collection began in 1966, before construction of the first buildings commenced at the site of the University’s major campus at Bundoora. Recognising the importance of an art collection within an educational environment, the University’s Master Architect, Dr Roy Simpson, AO, incorporated the installation and display of art works into his overall vision for La Trobe. Together with Mr Frank Barnes, the University’s first Business Manager, and the generosity of individual benefactors, Dr Simpson initiated the commissioning of paintings by Gareth Jones-Roberts, Leonard Lloyd Annois and Charles William Bush to establish the Art Collection.

Major sculptural works, such as Allen David’s monumental glass screen that graces the main entrance to the University Library, were also included in the original design. The further installation of sculpture in the grounds and paintings throughout the buildings were proposed in the original Master Plan, and were made possible with funds raised through the 1976 Retirement Appeal for the inaugural Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Myers.

Today the La Trobe University Art Collection is considered a major public art collection, comprising over 2,000 post war and contemporary Australian art works. The collection covers most media and periods of Australian art. It includes the largest holding of works by the Australian Surrealist Bernard Boles, expatriate artist Allen David and the Etta Hirsh Ceramics Collection which consists of over 300 pieces.

In addition to an active acquisition program, art works have been acquired through an artist in residence program and sponsorship of public art prizes, reinforcing the University’s commitment to the study, patronage and advancement of the visual arts.

Public accessibility to the Collections remains a priority, with many of the works displayed across the University’s metropolitan and regional campuses, included in touring exhibitions and exhibitions held at other venues.

Image: Fred (Frederick Ronald) Williams, Australia 1927 – 1982, Scrub, Lysterfield, 1967, oil on canvas, 86.2 x 96.5 cm, Gift of the Williams Family in Memory of Jenny Wilkinson 1987, La Trobe University Art Collection.

Artists A-Z

Dunmoochin Foundation

Dunmoochin Foundation Art Collection

In 1992 La Trobe University became the custodian of the Dunmoochin Foundation Art Collection from the estate of artist Clifton Pugh.

The collection consists of works by Pugh and his peers, many of who spent time at his Cottles Bridge property 'Dunmoochin'.The collection includes examples of Pugh's formal and intimate portraits, as well as works dealing with environmental issues and the bulk of the artist's limited edition prints. Other artists represented in the collection include Rick Amor, John Brack, Frank Hodgkinson, John Olsen, Brett Whitely and John Perceval.

Image: Clifton Pugh, Australia 1924 – 1990, Portrait of Sir Weary Dunlop, 1990, Oil on particle board, 180.0 x 120.0cm, The Dunmoochin Foundation Art Collection held at La Trobe University

Ethnographic Collection

Ethnographic Collection

The Ethnographic Collection comprises mainly of gifts from generous donors of artefacts and paintings collected from Papua New Guinea and Australia, plus items collected on field trips by academics.

The collection consists of over three hundred objects including stone tools and carvings, Aboriginal barks, war shields and ceremonial dress, masks and headwear.

FM Courtis Collection

The FM Courtis Collection

Fred Courtis, then Head of Art Education at the Bendigo Teachers' College, commenced this collection of Australian works of art in 1958.The first works acquired for the collection were Arthur Boyd's Grampians Landscape and Len Annois' Templestowe Landscape. Intended as a valuable teaching resource, the collection was developed to foster a national identity through the appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts.

Artists now represented in the collection include Sir Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Sir William Dargie, Leonard French and George Johnson.

Known as the FM Courtis Collection, the 350 plus art works are displayed primarily in the Education Building of the University’s Bendigo campus. An important resource for Bendigo, it provides the opportunity for students to have close and continued contact with quality art works, thus creating an enriched environment for their learning and broader personal development.

For any collection enquiries please contact:

Image: George Johnson, New Zealand b.1926, arr. Australia 1953, Canto 1965, oil, mixed media on board, 29.3 x 28.0 cm, F.M. Courtis Collection. La Trobe University, Bendigo

Trendall Collection

Trendall Collection of Antiquities

A D (Dale) Trendall was one of the greatest historians of Greek art of the twentieth century. He was the world authority on the red-figured vases produced in the Greek colonies and native towns of South Italy and Sicily during the Classical period (5th and 4th centuries).

The Trendall Collection of Antiquities includes fine examples of complete vessels, fragments and objects reflective of Professor Trendall’s research interests.

Professor Trendall believed that Australian scholars had made, and could continue to make, a significant contribution to our knowledge of the colonial Greeks in South Italy. To this end, he bequeathed, in addition to the antiquities, his vast archive of over 40,000 photographs of South Italian red-figure vases and his extraordinary personal library of books and journals on Classical civilisation. This donation formed the basis of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre.

For further information regarding the Centre contact:Dr Ian McPhee on +61 3 9479 2845 or

Propaganda Posters

Stewart E Fraser Collection of Chinese Propaganda Posters

Emeritus Professor Stewart E. Fraser (1929-2001) was born and spent much of his childhood in Tianjin, China. He was educated at the Universities of Melbourne, Oxford, Stanford, Colorado and London. In 1976, with Professor Ronald Goldman, they established the then innovative School of Education at La Trobe University. Breaking with the tradition of organising the School in terms of disciplines, they structured it in ‘centres’, according to the research interests of the teaching staff.

Professor Fraser was committed to building strong connections with Asia, particularly with China and Vietnam, well before these countries began opening up to the West. His interest in public health issues led him to begin collecting posters, intrigued with the poster as a medium of communication.In 1976 he published the text 100 Great Chinese Posters, one of the earliest publications on the area.

The Stewart E. Fraser Poster Collection is one of the largest of its kind. It contains close to 1,000 posters, predominately from China, as well as examples from Russia and Vietnam.

Image: Ou Yang, We are the new generation of Young Pioneers, 1980, Offset lithograph, 53.0 x 76.7cm, Stewart E. Fraser Poster Collection, La Trobe University