Late Gold Coast philanthropist Win Schubert leaves $35million bequest to QAGOMA

The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) recently announced receipt of a $35 million bequest, the largest single cash gift in the Gallery’s 125 year history and one of the most generous bequests ever made to an Australian state gallery.

Chair of the Queensland Art Gallery Board of Trustees, Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AC said the inspiring bequest made by the late Win Schubert AO (1937–2017), a Gold Coast-based philanthropist, gallerist and art lover, was extraordinarily generous and would support the acquisition of major Australian and international works for the Collection.

‘Comparable to some of the country’s most generous cultural gifts, Mrs Schubert’s $35 million gift establishes The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust,’ Professor O’Connor said.

‘The purpose of the Trust is to develop and maintain a permanent collection of artworks created in or after 1880, for the advancement of art education in Australia. Held by QAGOMA, works from this collection will be featured in the Gallery’s forward exhibition program.’

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM said Mrs Schubert’s remarkable support was unmatched and truly visionary.

‘This is the largest philanthropic gift in QAGOMA’s history. It will be transformative in supporting and extending the State’s Collection and the cultural experience of generations of Queenslanders now and into the future.

‘Mrs Schubert’s patronage of QAGOMA during her lifetime was incredibly generous and forward thinking. First supporting the Gallery’s Foundation in 1984, she became one of the most generous benefactors in its 40-year history and was posthumously awarded the Foundation’s highest level of recognition, Visionary,’ Mr Saines said.

Over two decades Mrs Schubert enabled the acquisition of more than 100 important artworks for the State’s Collection. Some of the most significant include Cai Guo-Qiang’s allegorical assembly of 99 replica animals, Heritage 2013, Yayoi Kusama’s large-scale sculptural work Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011, Kohei Nawa’s PixCell-Double Deer#4 2010, and Nick Cave’s HEARD 2012, 15 ‘soundsuits’ that can be activated by dancers and were a major highlight of GOMA’s tenth-anniversary celebrations.

While Mrs Schubert generously supported a number of ambitious international acquisitions in her lifetime, her giving was primarily focused on art from Australia and Queensland. Most notably, her support through the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts resulted in QAGOMA holding Australia’s most extensive collection of works by Ian Fairweather.

QAGOMA acknowledged Mrs Schubert’s remarkable benefaction through the naming of The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries at QAG in 2012, and by honouring her with the QAGOMA Medal in 2015.

Mrs Schubert’s generosity will also be remembered through the eponymous Schubert Circle, a dedicated program launched this month to recognise donors who have included a gift to QAGOMA in their Will.

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