The University of Western Australia is the proud custodian of one of Australia's largest and most signifi cant collections of women's art. The Cruthers' Women's Art Collection - 400 works by 155 women artists collected by Lady Cruthers and her family over three decades - has been gifted to the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery by Sir James and Lady Sheila Cruthers.
Family members and friends joined Sir James and Lady Cruthers at UWA on Wednesday 19 March at a ‘thank you' celebration hosted by the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor.
The celebration was a very special night, as we raised our glasses to Sir James' toast: ‘Good on ya, Sheila'. Sir James spoke about this amazing collection which began in 1974 when "Sheila saw The Girl in the Corner by Joy Hester and just had to have it". According to Sir James "the collection just went on and on and on".
The collection, valued at between $4 million and $5 million, includes works by Susan Norrie, Julie Dowling, Grace Cossington-Smith, Freda Roberts-Shaw, Kate O'Connor and Margaret Preston, and refl ects Lady Cruthers' passion for and empathy with women artists. Her vision has created an endowment that will transcend time, re-shape and enhance the University's already much admired Art Collection.
As is so often the case with the donation of private art collections, the donors' decision was based on the assurance that the collection is going to a good home - one that will take care of it, display it and ensure it is accessible to the community on a regular basis.
This collection when it goes on public display, will refl ect Lady Curthers' passion and vision for women's art and acknowledge the outstanding generosity of the Cruthers family. The Cruthers family has had a strong connection with UWA over several decades - not only with Sir James and Lady Cruthers, but also their son John and daughter Sue who studied at UWA.