University Art Gallery

The Macleay Museum and University Art Gallery are closed in preparation for the opening of the Chau Chak Wing Museum in 2020

The University Art Collection began with the foundation of the University of Sydney in 1850. Among the first acquisitions of the new institution were a 'clock, a portrait of Sir Francis Forbes, two maps, two blackboards with stands and a pair of large globes'.

One of the first donors of works of art was Sir Charles Nicholson, one of the University's founders. Nicholson was active in cultural, political and business affairs of the colony of New South Wales and had a significant private art collection. In 1865 he gave the University some 30 paintings, tapestries, sculptures and portrait medallions.

Today there are over 7000 artworks by Australian, Asian and European artists in the collection, mainly acquired by bequest, gift and commission. However, it is the depth and diversity of the collection that makes it unique, with Chinese art, Japanese woodcuts, and a broad range of Australian art - including paintings, prints, watercolours, drawings, textiles, photography, decorative arts, sculptures and ceramics.

The University Art Gallery was located inside the War Memorial Arch on the northern side of the Quadrangle, opposite the Macleay Building (Science Road). Completed at the end of 1958 the gallery was designed by Ingham Ashworth based on aspects of Leslie Wilkinson’s original design.

Member of the University Art Museums Australia

Search the collections