Australian Bundanon Art Museum

Bundanon is an Australian art museum located in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales. It was established in 1994 and is dedicated to showcasing the work of Arthur Boyd, one of Australia’s most renowned artists. The museum also houses a large collection of works by other Australian artists, as well as a library, research center, and educational programs. The museum is set in a beautiful natural setting, with stunning views of the Shoalhaven River. It is also home to the Bundanon Trust, which works to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of the Shoalhaven region.

In 2020, some of the worst fires to ever hit Australia came within one kilometer of Australian artist Arthur Boyd’s historic place of residence, and his entire collection was evacuated to Sydney. The Australian Government quickly realized how close the collection came to being completely destroyed and helped fund the Bundanon Art Museum.

Following extensive renovations and the addition of a new gallery last year, the new Bundanon was transformed into a scenic art destination frequented by art lovers young and old. Situated along the Shoalhaven River, the gallery forms part of what is hoped to become an art-tourism trail of regional galleries in southern New South Wales.

Bundanon Museum
Bundanon Art Museum is carved into a hillside | Source: Bundanon

The collection at Bundanon Art Museum showcases works by the Boyd family, as well as paintings by other well-known 20th-century Australian artists such as Sidney Nolan, Brett Whiteley, Joy Hester, and Charles Blackman.

The Bundanon Art Museum consists of the museum itself, carved into the side of a hill, and a 165-meter-long bridge structure with 32 rooms. Designed with sustainability in mind, this structure eschews air-conditioning altogether with Kerstin Thompson Architects designing the building to take advantage of a cross-ventilation roof system, as well as shutters and louvers to cool the rooms.

Constructed mostly of locally-sourced Blackbutt timber, guests at the museum are treated to a full tour and fine dining experiences. Prices start at A$1,320 for one person and A$1,650 for two.

Midway through the 20th century, contemporary art was awash with abstract expressionists. Influential proponents of the movement such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning were creating works that called traditional notions of symbology and subject into question.

Some Australian artists reacted to a museum exposition that toured Europe entitled The New American Painting by rejecting its assertions. A small group of artists from Melbourne put together a protest movement espousing the importance of Australian figurative art.

This group of seven influential visual artists which also included Charles Blackman, John Perceval, and Clifton Pugh was known as the Antipodeans. Arthur Boyd was one of the most enthusiastic contributors to the Antipodeans exhibition and two other artists featured in the exhibition were also from the Boyd family.

The Old Boat at Port Melbourne painting by John Perceval
John Perceval was one of the exhibiting artists at the 1959 Antipodeans exhibition | Source: Deutscher and Hackett

The exhibition has had a lasting effect on Australian artistic consciousness and informed subsequent artistic movements such as Stuckism.

The Boyd artistic dynasty continues to this day to be very influential and has helped shape the face of contemporary Australian art for many years. The Frightened Bridegroom (1958) by Arthur Boyd sold for more than A$1.4 million in 2012 and his private collection is said to be worth in excess of A$43 million.

It’s this valuable and extensive body of work, along with the gorgeously designed Bundanon Art Museum and several other properties on the Shoalhaven River, which was gifted by the Boyd family to the Australian people at the memorial service for Sir Sidney Nolan in 1993.

The collection of buildings at Bundanon includes an underground space for the storage of Boyd’s collection. The main advantage of storing and displaying them here is that the artworks are protected from potential damage due to bushfires.

Bundanon is also home to Arthur Boyd’s residence and studio, which is open to the public on Sundays.

Bundanon Homestead and Arthur Boyd's studio
Bundanon Homestead and Arthur Boyd’s studio is open to the public every Sunday | Source: Tourism Shoalhaven

This article originally appeared on Fancy and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

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Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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