SandhillsatAtnangkereCountry
Kathleen Petyarre (born circa 1940), Sandhills at Atnangkere Country, 1999
Credit: Courtesy of Bonhams. Courtesy of Harvard Museum of Art and the Collection of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan. Promised gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

At the outset of what promises to be a big day for Australian art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art this morning announced that it has acquired a promised gift of eight contemporary Aboriginal artworks from the extensive collection of Robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi.

Kaplan and Levi are a Seattle-based husband and wife duo who possess one of America’s largest collections of works from Arnhem and the northern regions, central and western Australia, the Kimberley, the southeast, and the Torres Strait. Together they’ve collected hundreds of works of Aboriginal art since 1991, and in 2012 over 100 works from their archives were exhibited as part of Ancestral Modern, a major survey of Aboriginal works from 1970 onward.

The eight abstract works, dating from between 1991 and 2011, include contributions from some of Australia’s leading contemporary Indigenous artists and will be integrated into the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Artists represented in the collection include Kathleen Petyarre, Doreen Reid Nakamarra, Dorothy Napangardi, Ena Gimme Nungurrayi, Lena Nyadbi, Abie Loy Kemarre and Gunybi Ganambarr.

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art commented that the addition of these spectacular works “introduces a dynamic new dimension to The Met’s global representation of contemporary art.”

Cover and tile image: Dorothy Napangardi, Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa, 2002. Courtesy of Harvard Museum of Art and the Collection of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan. Promised gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

thoughts?