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Edmund Capon ends stellar arts career

Edmund Capon ends stellar arts career
December 24, 2011

The NSW Government has congratulated the outgoing Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmund Capon AM OBE, for his lengthy contribution to one of Australia's most popular cultural institutions and the State's cultural life.

Speaking on Friday 23rd December, Capon's final day in the top job at the gallery before his retirement, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell stated "over the past 33 years, Edmund has effectively transformed the Art Gallery of NSW into an internationally renowned hub of artistic excellence and diversity.

"During his tenure he has been both the public face of the gallery and the driving force for its development and improvement behind the scenes.

"Edmund created a sustainable funding base for the gallery in 1983 by establishing the Art Gallery of NSW Foundation to raise and invest money for the purchase of major art works.

"Major acquisitions are some of his many career highlights while at the gallery which now boasts a collection worth $841 million.

"This includes the purchase of Nude in a rocking chair by Pablo Picasso, Bords de la Marne by Paul Cezanne, Three bathers by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, First-class marksman by Sidney Nolan, Five bells by John Olsen, Three studies from the Temeraire by Cy Twombly, Standing Buddha, China Sui dynasty, Haft by Anthony Gormley and Waterbrain by Rusty Peters.

"Edmund has overseen the staging of numerous major exhibitions such as The Lost Buddhas and The First Emperor: China's entombed warriors, The Chinese Exhibition, Gold of the Pharaohs, Michelangelo to Matisse: Drawing the Figure, Giacometti: sculptures prints & drawings from the Maeght Foundation, and The Arts of Islam: Treasures from the Nasser D Khalili collection.

"Of course, he worked hard to secure the gallery's latest attraction Picasso: masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris the most significant exhibition of works by the great Spanish artist to visit Australia.

"I pay tribute to Edmund for his dedication and passion for the NSW arts sector as Director of the Art Gallery of NSW and wish him all the very best in his retirement."

NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality, Racing and the Arts, George Souris, also commended Capon for his role in helping to ensure NSW remains the cultural capital of Australia.

Minister Souris stated "Edmund's contribution to the arts (has been) truly remarkable.

"For example, since his appointment at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1978, Edmund has seen its visitor numbers increase by more than four fold. Last year alone the gallery attracted 1.3 million people.

"I commend Edmund on three decades of achievement at the gallery and for helping cement Sydney's position on the international cultural map.

"We are now in the final stages of the recruitment process to appoint a new suitably qualified director following a national and international search.

"The NSW Government is committed to ensuring Edmund's successor continues his legacy and ensures a prosperous long term future for the Art Gallery of NSW."


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