Brett Whiteley's 'Waves V' located in QVMAG Collection Audit

Tracy Puklowski Missing Whiteley (1).jpg


Media release – Issued Friday 5 March 2021

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery is delighted to announce that curators have located Brett Whiteley's Waves V as part of the institution's Collection Audit.

The ink drawing by the renowned Australian artist was purchased by the gallery in 1976, and records show that it entered the QVMAG collection soon after. However there was no further record of the item after that, nor has it ever been displayed.

In 2018, staff undertook a preliminary search of the gallery's storage after being contacted by researchers inquiring about the artwork, but were unable to locate it.

The artwork was located earlier this week in a gallery storage drawer during audit procedures.

The Collection Audit is the first full audit of the QVMAG collection since the institution's inception in 1891. It was launched at the start of the 2019/20 financial year, with the aim of creating a database of QVMAG’s 1.5 million artworks and objects. The project has enabled the creation of new jobs in the arts and culture section for Launceston, with a dedicated team of curators, officers and volunteers meticulously documenting the collection.

The Council, in conjunction with the Office of the Coordinator-General, was fortunate to secure federal government funding through the Smart Cities programme to enable QVMAG to develop a digitised collection management platform to record and manage its high value cultural assets. QVMAG is committed to creating an ongoing digitised record to ensure that collections are publicly accessible to the Launceston community and beyond.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Collection Audit has enabled in-depth analysis of QVMAG's extensive collections.

"By committing to the Collection Audit we have been able to preserve, analyse and register QVMAG's precious and extensive collection for the first time in the Museum's 130 year history," Mayor Van Zetten said.

"We are pleased to confirm Waves V by Brett Whiteley has always been safely looked after in the collection as a result of this project."

General Manager of Creative Arts and Cultural Services Tracy Puklowski said the audit is a significant moment in the collection's history.

"QVMAG has taken significant steps to maintain the integrity and quality of its entire collection, and will continue to do so into the future. We will be sharing the artwork with the community with a public display later this month."

The Museum's Manager of Knowledge and Content, Christine Hansen said the audit had provided a wonderful opportunity for QVMAG.

"Ultimately, a museum holds a record of the past and present for the future and we must preserve this as best we can." Ms Hansen said.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to have QVMAG's collection meticulously assessed and documented for present and future communities to treasure and learn from."

The audit has uncovered a number of marvellous objects of cultural, social and environmental significance that have stitched together inspiring and intriguing new narratives.

These include forgotten treasures such as a convict vest in superb condition, an early 20th Century abacus from Launceston's Chung Gon family and Margaret Stones' Botanical Illustrations which have inspired the Electric Botany project – an initiative for which Launceston was recently nominated for an Australian Street Art Award.

Brett Whiteley's Waves V will be on display at Queen Victoria Art Gallery at Royal Park at the end of March.