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  • Oct 13, 2020

Twenty-five-Million-dollar Bequest sets record for Australian Museum


On October 10, Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) announced that it has received an AUD 35 million (USD 25 million) bequest made to the museum by the late philanthropist and businesswoman Win Schubert (1937–2017). 

The highest valued single gift in QAGOMA’s 125-year history, and also one of the most lavish made to an Australian state art institution, will be used by QAGOMA for the expansion of its permanent art collection for works created in or after 1880 as well as help fund art education via the newly established The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust. Speaking of this generous donation, QAGOMA director Chris Saines said, “This is the largest philanthropic gift in QAGOMA’s history. It will be transformative in supporting and extending the State’s Collection and the cultural experience of generations of Queenslanders now and into the future.”

This is not the first time that Schubert has supported the QAGOMA. A Gold Coast-based gallerist and supporter of the arts, she was a patron of the Gallery’s Foundation since 1984, and continued to contribute over the next four decades. Her significant donations led to the acquisition of more than 100 mostly Australian and Queensland works now in the Gallery’s collection, including Australia’s largest collection of works by the late painter Ian Fairweather (1891–1974). Among the international works in the QAGOMA collection are Cai Quo-Qiang’s 2013 installation of 99 life-sized animal sculptures gathered at the edge of a watering hole, Heritage, and Yayoi Kusama’s monumental sculptures of cartoon-like flowers decorated with her iconic polka dots, Flowers that bloom at midnight (2011).

In 2012, Schubert’s name was included in the naming of The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries at Queensland Art Gallery as a recognition of her contributions, and in 2015, she was named the awardee of the QAGOMA Medal. QAGOMA has recently launched a new program in her honor, the Schubert Circle, which recognizes donors who have included a gift to the Gallery in their will. 

Ruby Fung is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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