“The Journey” at QVMAG (1 October to 15 February 2017) Celebrating 125 years of the Launceston Art Society Inc. In 1891 a committee of 10 young ladies organised the first exhibition of the Launceston Drawing Club which, a few years later, was to become Launceston Art Society. 125 years later, Launceston Art Society is holding a retrospective art exhibition at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery to celebrate both past and present LAS members who are accomplished artists and others who have been instrumental in the long life and continuity of the Society. Her Excellency, Professor, the Honourable Kate Warner AM, Governor of Tasmania will officially open the exhibition on Wednesday 5th October 2016 at QV Art Gallery, Launceston. The exhibition of 85 paintings selected from the QVMAG collection, Art Society of Tasmania collection, Launceston Art Society Inc. collection and on loan from many private owners and the artists will be on display in Gallery 2 from October 1 2016 until February 15 2017.
Launceston Art Society Inc. is one of Australia’s oldest continually operating art societies and many of Australia’s celebrated artists have exhibited with the society at various times since its foundation including Rupert Bunny, Grace Cossington Smith, William Dargie, Russell Drysdale, Norman Lindsay and Lloyd Rees. When art education in Tasmania was in its infancy, the Society played an important role in broadening the spectrum of art available to the local community by encouraging artists from Hobart and mainland states to exhibit in its annual exhibitions. It is not certain when the Launceston Drawing Club was established but by the time of the 1891 exhibition it had thirty members including women of considerable talent like Louisa Swan, the first secretary and probable founder now on the Tasmanian Roll of Honour of Women. Other notable early members were Mary Augusta Grieg, the first LAS President, Laura Dean, and Isobel Oldham –all of whom are represented in this exhibition Many of Tasmania’s foremost art teachers have been and continue to be, great supporters by exhibiting, acting as judges and tutoring our members. These range from Lucien Dechaineux in the early 1900’s, Hope Evershed, Edith Holmes, Robert Campbell, Jack Carrington Smith, Stanley Fuller, Geoff Tyson, Alan McIntyre, Fred Fullerton, Greg Waddle, Richard Klekociuk, Rosemary Mastnak, Rosemary Hill, Gerry Jensen, Margaret Coombes and Leoni Duff to name but some. Most of these artist/educators are represented in this retrospective exhibition. It is hoped that LAS members can maintain the vitality of spirit in keeping with those 10 young ladies who organised the first exhibition of 1891 and had the vision to bring together artists to enjoy and present works of art.