A significant exhibition of over 50 key works by legendary Australian artists.
An exhibition which featured the work of some of Australia’s most important artists including Norman Lindsay, Arthur Streeton, Hans Heysen, Rupert Bunny, Lloyd Rees, George W Lambert, Tom Roberts, Elioth Gruner, Charles Condor, Margaret Preston, Sydney Long and Roy De Maistre. The works were from the Howard Hinton Collection, the only collection of its kind in sheer breadth of its coverage of Australian art from the 1890s to the 1950s in regional Australia. Howard Hinton (1867-1948) was a generous and mysterious art collector and benefactor who was passionate about art. When he first arrived in Australia from England in 1892 he lived in the artists’ camps around Sydney Harbour and as a result befriended artists such as Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Julian Ashton and began buying their paintings. By 1933 Howard Hinton decided to create the best collection of art in regional Australia and 50 of those works were shown at Hazelhurst Gallery.
The exhibition was created with the New England Regional Art Museum, (NERAM) which was built in 1983 specifically to house and exhibit the entire Howard Hinton Collection. "Almost 70 years since Howard Hinton’s death, his collection is still one of the most important of Australian artists in the 60 year period from the 1890s when he began his collection" said Hazelhurst's Director Belinda Hanrahan. "The story about this shy man, Howard Hinton and the story behind his collection is one of the most intriguing in the history of benefaction and art philanthropy in Australia", she added.
Hinton, who did not seek any recognition for what he was doing for art and artists, developed his collection for the purpose of encouraging artists, educating students and for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. During half a century of purchasing art he only ever kept a dozen works hanging on his North Shore rented room’s walls and several more in a metal trunk by his bed. The rest he gave away. He first donated works from his collection to the Armidale Teachers’ College in 1929, and, by the time of his death in 1948, he had donated over 1,200 works of art. Today NERAM is adjacent to the Armidale Teachers College, which was the original home of the Hinton Trust.
One of his close friends, Norman Lindsay, once wrote: “He worked hard on his business career, but only to acquire money to devote to art, spending nothing on himself.”
Howard Hinton would often send one painting at a time to Armidale, where they adorned the walls of the college. Writing to the Secretary of the Department of Education in 1947 Hinton said: My object was to provide a complete collection illustrating the development of Australian art from 1880 onwards, and my action in making the gift to the Armidale Teachers’ College was prompted by my great interest in Australian education and my desire that the collection should be available in perpetuity for the benefit of succeeding generations of the students of the Armidale Teacher’s College.
Treasures of Australian Art 1890 to 1950 was a partnership project between New England Regional Art Museum and Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.
Image: Norman Carter The Pool, Austinmer NSW 1927 (detail), oil on wood. Gift of Mrs A. L. McGlew 1941.