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History of the Collection

With the foundation of Monash University in 1961, the first Vice Chancellor, Louis Matheson, established an annual acquisition fund for the purchase of artworks by living Australian artists. The aim of the Monash University Collection was to support culture, to embellish the new buildings and environments, and to inspire and engage students and staff through contemporary art. Built over six decades, the Collection demonstrates the evolution of art and knowledge production in Australia, and extends from the key themes that have concerned Australian artists across more than half a century.

The Monash University Collection includes a diverse range of media from painting, sculpture and photography to video, installation and new media. Known for its adventurousness and commitment to contemporary art as it develops, the Collection is recognised nationally for its currency, depth and diversity. Through a commitment to ambitious public art commissions, an active artwork loan program and the display of art in prominent public spaces, the Collection provides focal points of interest, provocation and reflection.

The Monash University Collection is also an important resource for education and scholarship. It is the starting point for a range of education and public programs, as well as the stimulus for new writing with the 100 Works from the Monash University Collection, First Languages of the Monash University Collection and Queer Readings from the Monash University Collection projects opening the Collection up to a broader range of voices and perspectives.

Image: Howard Arkley, Family Home—Suburban Exterior, 1993, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 203 x 254 cm, Monash University Collection