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Leeuwin Estate collection celebrates Australian art

AN old barrel store at Leeuwin Estate has been put to work as the new home for one of Australia’s most impressive collections of contemporary Australia art

The gallery, housed beneath the Leeuwin Estate Restaurant in Margaret River, will bring together more than 100 works by pre-eminent Australian artists.

Commissioned to appear on the Art Series labels since 1980, the valuable collection of works includes pieces by Sir Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Robert Juniper.

“In 1980 we commissioned Robert Juniper to produce a work and he did a painting of Caves Rd. From then on we’ve been commissioning artists every year,” Leeuwin Estate public relations spokesperson Simone Furlong said.

“The idea came about as a way to differentiate the best wine from each vintage.”

As part of a major renovation of the restaurant, the gallery was constructed to display works from the estate’s significant collection, previously shared between the restaurant, offices and in Fremantle.

The collection’s size means the works which don’t fit in the gallery will be displayed on the restaurant and winery walls.

The bulk of the collection is paintings on canvas but there also are several sculptures, including an iron piece. The plans for the collection stretch well beyond the walls of Leeuwin Estate and Margaret River.

Once the collection has grown and developed further, it’s hoped it could be toured around Australia and (possibly) internationally as one of the pre-eminent collections of contemporary Australian art.

“We hope one day we’ll be able to tour it. We want to go on and develop it to represent work by contemporary Australian artists,” Ms Furlong said.

On average, the winery chooses five works a year for the Art Series range. These are either commi-ssioned directly from the artist or chosen from works in commercial galleries.

The collection is an important investment in Australian art and pays homage to the striking coastline and landscape in the South West of the State, which has inspired many artists.

The old barrel store gallery is part of a major renovation designed by architects the Buchan Group to develop the winery’s cellar warehouse, restaurant and a new cellar tasting bar.

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