With the Grand Opening of SAM planned for October, the Gantner Collection will feature in its inaugural exhibition program, with more than 90 works on display for the community to enjoy.
“The Gantner’s generosity will shape the future of arts and culture in Shepparton for generations to come,” Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said.
“It is gifts such as this that add significant value to our community and will ensure the new SAM thrives.”
“The new purpose-built museum and state-of-the-art facilities are set to attract visitors to the region each year. SAM’s highly skilled and qualified team will ensure that this generous gift of art remains well cared for.”
The deed of gift was officially signed and sealed by Council on Tuesday 16 March at the Council Meeting.
Ownership of previously gifted artwork from the Gantner’s to Council formed part of this deed of gift ensuring the works would remain together.
Mr Gantner’s recent gift builds on his significant contribution made to SAM in 2013. “I am delighted to see this deed of gift signed and confirm the gifting process that has been occurring for a number of years now, it is very exciting that we will soon see the works in the new SAM building.”
SAM Limited Chair, Stephen Merrylees, described the gift as one of the largest donations of Indigenous artwork to be gifted to a regional museum.
“We are thrilled to become the caretakers of these treasured works,” Mr Merrylees said.
“This phenomenal gift will enrich SAM’s continued focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.”
The Gantner’s donated collection is valued at more than $3 million.
It comprises 341 artworks, including many well-known artists and works relating to the Shepparton area, including work by renowned Yorta Yorta artist Lin Onus.
Featuring 84 female and 90 male artists, a large portion of the collection represents artists from the Central and Western desert regions, and many from Arnhem Land, Tiwi Islands, the Kimberley and Riverine areas.
The gifting of these works will take place over the duration of the Gantners’ lives, with any ungifted works from this deed also forming a bequest. The pledge of this gift comes as SAM moves into its new purpose-built home on the edge of Victoria Park Lake, which overlooks the riverine bushland.
Mr Gantner is a Victorian cultural leader, philanthropist, passionate art collector and SAM Foundation Board member, as well as an appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his support of the performing and visual arts.
In coming weeks, the SAM team will begin the enormous undertaking of moving the art collection to the new building and start installing exhibitions. This includes more than 4,000 pieces of valuable artwork.