Launch of Mr Robert Smith Art Collection


On Friday, 8 December Bass Coast Shire Council launched the extensive Robert Smith art and book collection, generously gifted to Bass Coast by art historian and collector, Mr. Robert Smith.

The collection is made up of approximately 600 works, including limited edition prints, works on paper, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and photographs.

These works are by Australian and International artists spanning from the sixteenth century up to the millennium.  

The collection also includes a vast collection of books, magazines and periodicals, ranging from general reference books on art and artists to specialized art and music books and encyclopedias.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, thanked Mr. Smith for his remarkable gift.

“This collection is unique and represents a lifetime of commitment to collecting artworks and supporting artists with a strong humanist influence,” Cr Rothfield said.

“Mr. Robert Smith is a cultural historian who has held positions of responsibility, respect and regard at all levels of the arts industry.

“He began collecting art as early at 1948, when he bought two Counihan silkscreen prints for five shillings each, and since them his collection has grown to become something truly remarkable.

“We are so fortunate that he chose to settle in Wonthaggi in May this year and gift his collection to us to share with the community and the world.”

The documentary film, ‘Speaking of Art the Bob Smith Collection’, a project funded by Council and produced by Drift Media, premiered at the launch.

The documentary film, which was made with assistance from Mr. Smith, promotes some of the more remarkable works and the diversity of the collection, providing insight into the history and stories behind the art works and collector.

Council is currently investigating how the art works and documentary will be made available for public viewing in the future.