Among the many fine works in the collection, the University has commissioned paintings by leading Australian artists of the University's vice-chancellors and chancellors.
The McDonogh Endowment, which was established by its namesake in 1978, states:
"Official portraits of vice-chancellors shall be funded from the Jack McDonogh Endowment Fund under the rules established for the administration of that Fund".
The late Jack McDonogh is known mainly within the art world as a teacher and watercolourist. He had a long connection with Bathurst and with the Bathurst Campus of the University. He taught in NSW teachers colleges from 1951-1970, and in 1970 was appointed Head of the Creative Arts Department of Mitchell College of Advanced Education. He won the Bathurst Art Prize in 1958, 1961, 1962, and 1966. He and his wife Dr Colleen McDonogh, the Presiding Officer of the CSU-Mitchell Advisory Council 1990-1994, have contributed greatly to the establishment and growth of Charles Sturt University.
The Jiawei Shen portrait of Professor Ian Goulter was commissioned in 2010. The portrait hangs in the Council Room of the Chancellery at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.
Detail about the artist, who currently resides in Bundeena near Sydney, can be found here.
In October 2004, Andrew Sibley was commissioned to fulfil the above three criteria and paint a portrait of the Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Goulter. A number of sittings were held, and discussions regarding the informal, leafy nature of the image were progressed. The painting now hangs in the board room at The Grange at Bathurst.
Sibley was born in 1933 in Kent, England, and arrived in Australia in 1948. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he was influenced by the artist Jon Molvig. Since that time he has taught, exhibited and played an integral part in the Australian art scene, living at one time in 'Dunmoochin', Clifton Pugh's property, showing and working with John Brack, George Baldessin, Charles Blackman and many other Melbourne art stars. Sibley is renowned as one of the country's leading portraitists, and has entered the Archibald Prize 21 times since 1958, possibly eclipsing John Olsen's impressive run.
Sibley's painting practice uses a transfer technique for paint to canvas with the use of a thin, transparent film. The technique brings a marvellous flatness to the paintings, and a transferred colour block similar to that of monotype printmaking. Many of the images within his paintings are symbolic. References to the wolf or the moon are usually self reflective. Within the Goulter portrait one may note the strong position of the sitter and his stable colour scheme, the 11th hour depicted on the Vice-Chancellor's watch face, the dense greenery as backdrop to the scene, and the pen and paper slipping towards the viewer. The pen, paper, and in some measure the shifting picture plane of the table, are direct references to John Brack's late pen and pencil paintings which reconstruct specific battles. It can be assumed this battle reference is connected with the Vice-Chancellor's role as the decision maker on campus, and the signer of deals. The University also owns two early charcoal and pen / ink drawings by the artist, purchased in 1968.
There are two portraits of the foundation Vice-Chancellor Professor C.D. Blake, AO within the CSU Art Collection. Professor Blake held the post of Principal of the Riverina Institute for Higher Education (and its predecessors) and Vice-Chancellor from 1971 until 2001. Professor Blake sat for John Caldwell in 1992 in Bathurst.
John Caldwell was born in Sydney in 1942; he held his first solo exhibition in 1978 at Bloomfield Galleries, Sydney. Caldwell is not known for his portraits; however, his landscape drawings are quite magical. Series of his works of Antarctica, France, or large open cut mines hold a serene, compositional tranquility, and an almost mathematical rigidity. A long-time member of the Australian Watercolour Institute, his watercolours are some of his best work.
Professor Blake sat for Reg Campbell in 1996. Reg Campbell has painted numerous portraits for the University and its precursor institutions, namely: Evan Arthur Byron (Sam) Phillips BA, Med, DipEd, foundation Principal of Mitchell CAE 1969-1983; a double portrait of Jack and Dr Colleen McDonogh in April 1993; and the portrait of Prof. John Maxwell Collins, BA (Hons), MEd Admin, PhD, Principal of Mitchell CAE and a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CSU. Campbell's portraits are realistic, traditional and complex in their implementation. The artist is a portrait professional; the likeness of Professor Blake is uncanny. There is nothing within the images to challenge the spectator.
Dr Thomas A Middlemost, Charles Sturt University Art Curator, 2014
The Jiawei Shen portrait commissioned by the University was unveiled at a ceremony held in June 2009 in celebration of Charles Sturt University's 20th anniversary year.
The portrait is currently shown in the Council Room of the Chancellery at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.
The artist Jiawei Shen was born in 1948 in Shanghai, China. Art schools were closed during the period of the Cultural Revolution, so Shen was largely self-taught and by the mid 1970s his artistic ability was recognised. One of his works from this era, “Standing Guard for Our Great Motherland” (1974) appeared in the China: 5000 Years exhibition in 1998 at the Guggenheim Museum in both New York and Bilbao.
Jiawei Shen studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing from 1982 to 1984 and became acclaimed as a history painter. His works are represented in the top collections including the National Art Gallery of China and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, both in Beijing. He has won five prizes in the National Art Exhibitions including first prize.
Shen moved to Australia in 1989 and for the first two years supported himself financially by drawing sketches for tourists at Darling Harbour. He looked on this experience as an opportunity to research portraiture and since then he has completed many accomplished portrait commissions in Australia and overseas including the official portrait of Princess Mary of Denmark and a portrait of former Prime Minister John Howard (for the Australian Parliament).
He first submitted work for the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1992 and since has been selected for the exhibition numerous times. In 1997, Shen was runner-up for the first prize. He has been a finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize and has twice won third prize in the Sydney Royal Art Show. In 1995, Jiawei won the Mary McKillop Art Award and received a medal from Pope John Paul II.
Two portraits of David James Asimus AO, the Foundation Chancellor of CSU, 1989 - 2002 are hung within the University. One was commissioned by the University and the other by the Australian Wool Corporation. Mr. Asimus was the Chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation and the International Wool Secretariat from 1979 to 1988. During this period he led the wool industry into a position as Australia's premier export earner.
The commissioned portrait is by Judy Cassab. The Consultant Curator for CSU in 1993, Mr. Graham Smith, wrote to Cassab asking if she would paint Chancellor Asimus. Cassab's positive response declares that she has just finished the portrait of Dame Leonie Kramer, the Chancellor of Sydney University, for the Great Hall and she would need five sittings.
Judy Cassab was born in Vienna in 1920 and arrived in Sydney in 1951 and showed at Macquarie Galleries from 1953. An accomplished and well known portrait painter, she has painted the likes of Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir Robert Helpman, Princess Alexandra, Queen Sirikit, Princess Marina and the Duke of Kent. She was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1988, and won the Archibald Prize in 1961 and 1968. Her painting of Mr Asimus is the best official portrait in the University's Art Collection, and challenges the Sibley for interest and depth of feeling. Chancellor Asimus was an interesting and gregarious individual standing approximately six-and-a-half feet high. The portrait captures his towering stature and imposing character.
The Wes Walters' portrait commissioned by the Australian Wool Corporation was presented to Chancellor Asimus on his retirement as Corporation Chairman and placed on long-term loan with CSU in 2002. As with many portraits, there are also sketches, which are very fine and are held by the sitter. The artist Wes Walters was born in Mildura in Victoria in 1928. He won the Archibald Prize in 1979 with a portrait of Phillip Adams. The tie worn by Chancellor Asimus, depicting numerous sheep is obviously a reference to his position as Chairman of the Wool Corporation. The portrait is hung in the meeting room, David Asimus Court on the Wagga Wagga Campus, in what formerly was the Head of Campus compound and Executive Centre, opposite the Caldwell of Professor Blake.
Dr Thomas A Middlemost, Charles Sturt University Art Curator, 2014
Other notable official portraits within the University Art Collection include a Brian James Dunlop of Peter Hastie, BDS (Syd), FRACDS, FICD, Chairman of the Interim Council of Riverina CAE, 1969 - 1972, Chairman of the Council of Riverina CAE, 1972 - 1982, and a very impressive (187.4cm high) David Schlunke portrait of J.S. Hagan, BA, DipEd (Syd), PhD(ANU), of the Council of Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education (RMIHE), 1982 - 1989 and Deputy Chancellor of CSU, 1992 - 1999, which depicts Professor Hagan in an expanse of coastal rain forest in the Australian bush.
The Hagan portrait hangs in James Hagan Court on the Wagga Wagga Campus.
Portrait of J.S. Hagan by David Schlunke