Part of the reason why I have been so quiet here is that I have been busy preparing a public lecture I gave Saturday as part of the opening ceremonies of the permanent exhibition of the Hinton collection at the New England Regional Art Museum.
Starting in 1929 and continuing until his death in 1948, Howard Hinton gave over 1,000 artworks plus 700 art books to the Armidale Teachers' College. The result is one of the greatest art collections in Australia seen through the eyes of a single collector.
The sheer size of the collection makes it impossible to exhibit all pieces. So the gallery has chosen 230 or so pieces that can be rotated from time to time. This number of paintings makes for a concentrated hanging in a small space. The impact is overwhelming. If visiting, you need time to enjoy the works,
In mt talk, I focused on the early days of the Armidale Teachers' College, while art historian Micheal Mignard focused on Hinton. This was a fascinating talk, telling me much I did not know. As summarised by Paul Barratt:
Mike observed that the Hinton Collection is the best collection in the country of the Heidelberg School when they moved from Heidelberg to Sydney. It is also an important insight into what was going on in the Sydney art world in the 1920s and 1930s. Hinton knew the artists, and his standing as a collector was such that he would be granted early access to new exhibitions and would have first chop at buying the ones that caught his eye. The majority of these ended up at Armidale Teachers College, which also received the paintings in his personal collection when he died.