Our Australian collection presents a comprehensive survey of Australian art, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, from around 1800 to the present. Among its strengths are its nineteenth-century works (including Australian Impressionist paintings and colonial silverware and furniture), its twentieth-century Modernist collection (which includes a renowned selection of works by female artists) and the work by South Australian artists. The Australian Prints, Drawings and Photographs collection includes 2,000 drawings by Hans Heysen, bequeathed by the artist, and the R.J. Noye collection of 6,000 early South Australian photographs.
In 1939 the Gallery became the first Australian art museum to acquire a work by an Aboriginal artist and today, the traditional and the contemporary unite a diverse collection which includes desert paintings on canvas, bark paintings in ochre, photography, video, textiles, ceramics, glass and sculpture. Highlights of the contemporary Australian collection include Lindy Lee’s Life of Stars at the Gallery entrance and the Kulata Tjuta collaboration, made by Aṉangu artists working in the north of the state.