In 2015 the Gippsland Art Gallery celebrates 50 years of operation.
The Gallery opened in 1965 as the Sale Regional Arts Centre. Located above the Library at the Sale Civic Centre in Macalister Street, its first ten years of collecting were eclectic and spasmodic.
The Gallery’s first acquisition was Foreshore by Richard Bishop, which won the Sale Festival art prize in 1964. This was soon followed by five donations by John Leslie, manager of department store W.D. Leslies and Mayor of Sale from 1961 to 1964.
Early exhibitors were not charged a hire fee for the Gallery, but were obliged to donate a work to the collection. An operational grant from the State Government in 1968 enabled the Gallery to make its first purchase—Organic Orange by Mona Melbourne.
Further purchases and gifts bolstered the collection in the early 1970s. Works by George Baldessin, Jan Senbergs, Jock Clutterbuck, Victor Majzner and Lesley Dumbrell brought the Gallery a degree of substance and credibility.
Looking back, the works acquired during this decade laid the foundation for the collection that was to come, and provide a revealing insight into the tastes and fashions of the 1960s and 70s.