Australian Art

This subject guide will help you to locate the resources you will find particularly useful when commencing your studies in this area. Here is the best place to find books, information about databases and a guide to appropriate websites.

Library Resources
DAAO Dictionary
AV Resources
Web Resources
Australia Art Prizes
Female Artists
Male Artists
National Gallery
National Gallery Vic

Library Resources

The Library catalogue is a powerful searching tool. Use a basic keyword search to get quickly to the resources you will find on the shelves.

In a highly visual subject you are often looking for that "something" that will give you an idea or set you off on your own path of discovery. While not the most efficient way for carrying-out research, under many circumstances browsing the shelves may bring you the results you want. The following Dewey Numbers will help if this is the case.

Dewey Numbers

730.994 Sculpture, Australian

741.994 Drawing, Australian

751.730994 Street art, Australian

759.994 Australian art and artists

770.994 Australian photography

Collection Highlights

If you research across these titles you will get a broad overview of the history of Australian art.

You can search for individual artists by either:

  • Searching by surname, followed by the Christian name or initial(s) in the subject, e.g. Mueck, Ron
  • Entering the artists exact name into a keyword search, e.g. Sidney Nolan

Folio Books

Folio books refer to books that are too large, too big, or indeed just to heavy to fit on the Library's normal non-fiction shelves. You will find this collection of books under the magazine shelves. The following folios are on either Australian art or an Australian artist.

Reference Material

Reference material can include dictionaries, encyclopedia, yearbooks and almanacs. Reference material can be a way to determine basic information about a new or unfamiliar topic. These general dictionaries are also useful for students referencing art terms in relation to Australian art.

DAAO Dictionary

Design and Art Australia Online (DAAO). Design and Art Australia Online (DAAO) is a collaborative e-Research tool built upon the foundations of the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online. DAAO is an open source freely accessible scholarly e-Research tool that presents biographical data about Australian artists, designers, craftspeople and curators.


The Library houses the following magazines with a focus on the contemporary art scene in Australia:

  • Art & Australia (from Autumn 1997 - Summer 2012)
  • Artland (continues Art & Australia, Summer 2012-2014) 
  • Australian Photography (from February 2005-)

AV Resources

The Library has a wide-range of AV material on DVD and as digital movies that can be located by searching on the Library catalogue. This is a list of some of those highly recommended by your teachers. Please ask at the AV Office for extended help in this area.

Web Resources

Australia Art Prizes

  • The Archibald Prize. The Art Gallery of N.S.W. The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. The Library also has resources about past winners of the Archibald. There is also an excellent range of books that look at portraits in painting and photography.
  • The Blake Prize. Australia's spiritual and religious art prize. The Blake Society, named after the visionary artist and poet, William Blake, is a non-profit organisation that administers and manages an annual Blake Prize and Exhibition program for contemporary art and poetry exploring the themes of spirituality, religion and human justice.
  • Bulgari Art Award. The Art Gallery of N.S.W. The Bulgari Art Award is an annual award to support contemporary Australian painting. Each year, the Gallery identifies a significant painting by a mid-career Australian artist to be acquired for the collection.
  • City of Hobart Art Prize. The City of Hobart Art Prize is an acquisitive award open to artists, designers and craftspeople Australia-wide. This annual exhibition is coordinated and presented by the City of Hobart and brings together the best of contemporary visual arts, craft and design practice
  • Dobell Prize for Drawing (discontinued in 2012). Held annually from 1993 to 2012, it was initiated by the Art Gallery of N.S.W. and the trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation (established from the estate of Australian artist William Dobell). While this prize has been discontinued there is still a significant archive of winners of this prize. It has been replaced by the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, with the first prize is to be awarded at the end of 2014.
  • Glover Prize. The Glover Prize is the richest annual prize for landscape painting in Australia. It is awarded for the work judged the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania.
  • Moran Art Prizes. The Moran Arts Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to support the Arts in Australia. Established by Doug and Greta Moran and Family in 1988 in celebration of Australia’s bicentennial, the Moran Arts Foundation fosters portraiture skills and excellence in photography.
  • National Photographic Prize (Photograph). National Portrait Gallery. The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual exhibition intended to promote the best in contemporary photographic portraiture by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers. The Library has many photography books that focus on portraits ... make sure you have a look at them.
  • Sir John Sulman Prize. The Art Gallery of N.S.W. The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist.
  • The Wynne Prize. The Art Gallery of N.S.W. The Wynne Prize is awarded annually for 'the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists’.

Female Artists

This is only a small selection of Australia's female artists, with more to be found by going directly to the shelves or searching in the Library catalogue.

Del Kathryn Barton (1972- )

Twice a winner of the Archibald Prize

Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999)

Worked with found objects

Simryn Gill (1959- )

Australian representative at the Venice Biennale 2013

Fiona Hall (1953- ) 

Painter, sculpture, installations and video Australian representative at the Venice Biennale 2015

Patricia Picccinni (1965- ) 

Sculptor, photographer, video art

Angela Valamanesh (1953- ) 


Male Artists

This is only a small selection of Australia's male artists, with more to be found by going directly to the shelves or searching in the Library catalogue.

George Gittoes (1949- )  

Social realist, filmmaker

Robert Kippel (1920-2001) 


Ben Quilty (1973- ) 


Brett Whiteley (1939-1992) 


Fred Williams (1927-1982) 


National Gallery

In partnership with Education Services Australia, the National Gallery has developed resources that utilise rich collection content whilst linking them to the Australian Curriculum. The list of works with these resources attached are available via the National Gallery's collection search. Please click on the individual images to view the resources.

Featured Australian artists:

National Gallery Vic

Featured Australian artists:

Referencing advice: The TASC and your teachers at St Patrick's College expect you to present your work with citations and a reference list in the Harvard (author/date) format. Go to the Library's Referencing Guidelines for extended help in this area. The Library staff are always happy to help you with any queries you may have in regard to referencing requirements for any research you are undertaking.

Visual art students should also refer to the RMIT Harvard Referencing Easy Cite tool for more information about referencing images. If you are lucky enough to visit the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart there are additional guidelines you will be required to use when referencing material from their O-device. Please ask at the Library or your teacher for help.

Investigation Projects (IPs): When undertaking any investigation project, independent study, research or book review you must allow yourself enough time to search for and locate the material you need. To help you a booking sheet is kept at the Library desk where you may book an individual time with one of the Library staff when commencing any research in the Visual Arts.

Faculty resources: All material purchased for teachers in the Visual Arts is also available for student use if it is not required by teachers. Many of these resources are inter-shelved with the Library material and may be found using the Library catalogue.

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