The Chandler Coventry Collection was described by the former Director of the Australian National Gallery, James Mollison as “one of the most important private collections of contemporary Australian art”. It strongly reflects art movements of the 1960s and 1970s with works by, predominately Australian, artists including Ralph Balson, Peter Booth, Gunter Christmann, Janet Dawson, Elaine Haxton, Leah MacKinnon, Michael Taylor, Dick Watkins and Brett Whiteley. Notable International artists include Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Charlotte Moorman.
Chandler Coventry (1924-1999) was born into an established grazing family in New England. As a young man he moved to Sydney where he worked in commercial art galleries. In 1970 he opened his own gallery in Hargreave Street, Paddington. He also established his own collection of contemporary Australian art that recognised innovation and exiting artists of the time with a focus on expressionist and abstractionist painters.
Some of his works hung in his Sydney home; most covered the walls of the Coventry family residence, Rockvale Station, on the outskirts of Armidale.
In the late 1970s, Coventry offered his collection to Armidale on the understanding that an art museum would be built to house both his and Hinton’s collections.
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His excellency General the Honorable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales, and Mrs Linda Hurley.
The Honorable Barnaby Joyce, MP Member for New England Mr Adam Marshall, MP Member for Northern Tablelands Dr Philp Bacon AM, Director, Philip Bacon Galleries, Mr Barry Pearce Am, Emeritus Curator, Art Gallery of NSW