History of the art collection
The City of Fremantle's Art Collection began with a bequest of 41 works in 1958 from Sir Claude Hotchin (1898-1977). Sir Hotchin, an enthusiastic patron of the visual arts, donated paintings by Hans Heysen, Margaret Preston, Arthur Streeton, Rupert Bunny and other Australian artists.
The collection has received many generous gifts and donations over the decades, with more than 150 artworks have been gifted by prominent collectors including paintings by Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, Kathleen O'Connor, Akio Makigawa, John Coburn, Lloyd Rees, William Dobell, Guy Grey-Smith, Ken Wadrop, Colin Lanceley, Sidney Nolan and Mary Moore.
The inaugural director of the Fremantle Arts Centre, Ian Templeman (1972-1989) promoted an acquisitions policy that focused upon building a collection which captured a range of contemporary arts practice in Fremantle and Western Australia. As a result the collection holds a strong body Australian prints and Western Australian ceramics.
He was responsible for establishing an ambitious exhibition and acquisition program, giving birth to the annual Fremantle Print Award in 1976, which has seen award winning prints, go to the collection.
Under June Moorehouse (general manager 1990), the collection benefited from increased print award sponsorship commitment and recognition of important Aboriginal practice and growth in new print forms and processes.
The City of Fremantle's Art Collection today numbers over 1 300 works, having grown with donations and acquisitions to include historical and contemporary artworks in a range of media-paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, photographs and sculpture-mostly by Western Australian and Australian artists. Together, these artworks provide a range of artistic statements about Fremantle, contribute to Fremantle's identity and provide a significant cultural resource for the community.