The Johnstone Gallery Archive

This exhibition occurred in the past

The Johnstone Gallery was a commercial art gallery that operated in Brisbane from 1950 to 1972 during a seminal time in the development of an audience for contemporary art in Australia. It brokered strong sales year after year for Australian artists of the period, including Charles Blackman, Sidney Nolan, Donald Friend, Arthur Boyd, Ray Crooke, Margaret Olley, Lawrence Daws, Robert Dickerson and others.

Operated by Brian and Marjorie Johnstone, their first gallery, the Marodian Art Gallery, opened in Brisbane's Upper Edward Street in December 1950. In February 1952 the Johnstones relaunched the gallery under their own name in the basement of the Brisbane Arcade. Their final location from 1958 was at their home in Cintra Road, Bowen Hills.

The Johnstone Gallery was a focal point of artistic and social life in Brisbane and when it eventually closed in 1972, there was a very real sense that this was the end of an era. The final exhibition was of sculpture by Leonard and Kathleen Shillam.

In 1994 Marjorie Johnstone bequeathed the Johnstone Gallery Archive to the Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland. Its an irreplaceable and immensely valuable resource of art, artists, commercial galleries and Australian social history including scrapbooks, correspondence, exhibition catalogues and photographs. Supporting this is the photographic collection of Arthur Davenport who documented artworks and installations at the Johnstone Gallery from 1964 until 1972. The collection is considered of national significance and in 2021 the Johnstone Gallery Archive was added to UNESCO's Australian Memory of the World Register.

For further reading see our Johnstone Gallery Archive resources

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