“The desire to highlight our American collection is a constant,” says Lucina Ward, Curator of International Painting and Sculpture at the National Gallery of Australia. “We’re really excited about having such an extraordinary collection. I know it well and I’m always keen to share it with others, but this is the first time that we’ve devoted all six of the temporary exhibition galleries to the collection in this way. That opportunity to mine the collection, to concentrate on these four decades where American art comes to new prominence on the world stage is just a wonderful thing.”

Plumage Landscape,Arshile Gorky, 1947.  National Gallery of Australia, Canberra © Arshile Gorky/ADAGP. Licensed by Viscopy

Ward and I are speaking today because of the NGA’s new, major exhibition of American art, which takes in iconic and groundbreaking work from the 1940s through to the 1980s. Titled American Masters, it oversees a fertile period of history that saw the re-energisation of the art scene in the United States. Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Eve Hesse and Louise Bourgeois are just some of the famous names whose works will be on display.