National Gallery lends $174m Monet ‘jewel’ to regions

Arts Minister Tony Burke with the Monet painting heading to regions for two years.

By Liz Hobday

A Monet masterpiece that is one of the most valuable works in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection is heading to a gallery in regional NSW.

The $174 million painting “Meules, milieu du jour” is part of the artist’s “haystacks series” painted at Giverny in 1890.

It is being loaned to the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre just outside the town of Murwillumbah, in the Northern Rivers region.

The work is one of the first to be shared as part of a federal government program to expand lending to regional and suburban galleries.

National Gallery of Australia director Nick Mitzevich described the painting as “a jewel in the national collection”.

“It is the most important Monet in the country and we are delighted to be sharing it with regional Australia,” he said.

Four other works from the national collection will also go on show at the Tweed gallery, including three by Australian artist Margaret Olley and a still life by one of her favourite artists, Georgio Morandi.

The announcement of the deal coincides with the 100th anniversary of Margaret Olley’s birth on Saturday.

The National Gallery of Australia has more than 155,000 works in its collection, valued at more than $6.8 billion.

The vast majority of them are held in storage at any given time.

The gallery usually lends out artworks for one or two months, but the government’s $11.8 million art-sharing initiative could result in works being loaned for as long as five years.

The Monet will leave Canberra in October and go on display for two years.

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