NGV International
50th Anniversary

Free entry

NGV International

Level 1

11 Aug 18 – 18 Nov 18

2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the National Gallery of Victoria’s relocation from the site of the State Library in Swanston Street to St Kilda Road. The new NGV building designed by Sir Roy Grounds opened in August 1968, providing a new permanent home for the NGV’s renowned collection and a location for temporary exhibitions.

The anniversary is being celebrated across NGV International through a series of displays which bring into focus stories of the building’s commission and architectural features, including Grounds’s architectural sketches, the Leonard French stained glass ceiling, interior furnishings by Mary and Grant Featherston, and reproductions of fashion photography staged in the Great Hall by Henry Talbot and Bruno Benini.

Exhibition labels

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The Field

Opening on 21 August 1968, the NGV’s inaugural exhibition at the new building was The Field, the first comprehensive display of colour field painting and abstract sculpture in Australia. Regarded as a landmark exhibition in Australian art history, The Field was a radical presentation of seventy-four works by forty artists who practised hard-edge geometric, colour and flat abstraction, many of which were influenced by international stylistic tendencies of the time. With its silver foil–covered walls and geometric light fittings, The Field opened to much controversy and helped launch the careers of a generation of Australian artists, including Sydney Ball, Peter Booth, Janet Dawson and Robert Jacks.


Leonard French & the Great Hall
Created by Leonard French between 1963 and 1967, the Great Hall ceiling remains the world’s largest cut glass ceiling. This display includes footage of French at work, and the artist’s original glass samples.
Location Level 1 Balcony, NGV International

Sir Roy Grounds & the Featherstons
In 1959 Melbourne architecture firm, Grounds Romberg Boyd was awarded the contract to design the new building for the NGV and adjacent Arts Centre. View the large format portfolio submitted to NGV’s Building Committee, and original sketches and furniture items by the Featherstons.
Location Level 1 Mezzanine, NGV International

An Illustrated Timeline
From Ground to Gallery: An Illustrated Timeline looks at the construction of the St Kilda Road premises.
Location Level 1 Mezzanine, NGV International