The Department of Australian Art is responsible for the collection of Australian Art from the time of European settlement to 1980. This consists of approximately 1500 paintings, 200 sculptures and 1250 decorative arts objects (including ceramics, metalwork, furniture etc.).
The curatorial staff provides specialist advice to the institution on the history and development of Australian art and the significance of Australian works of art in the collection. They undertake focused research into the various disciplines within the Australian art collection, as well as maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of the field, and are responsible for the augmentation of the collection, recommending works of art for acquisition through purchase and donation.
The Australian Art curators, in collaboration with the Assistant Director, are responsible for the permanent collection display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. This display on level 2 includes the Joseph Brown Collection and seeks to broadly tell the story of Australian art history. Paintings and sculpture make up the bulk of this display, with selected decorative arts, and the curators also collaborate with the Indigenous Art, Photography, Prints and Drawings and Fashion and Textiles departments, in order to represent the breadth and depth of the collections and of art history.