Founded in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public art gallery. The NGV was founded in 1861. Victoria had been an independent colony for only ten years, but in the wake of the Victorian gold rush, it was the richest colony in Australia, and Melbourne was the largest city in Australia.
In addition to donations of works of art, donated funds from wealthy citizens have been used by the NGV to purchase Australian and international works by both old and modern masters. The NGV currently holds over 70,000 works of art. The Felton Bequest, established by the will of Alfred Felton in 1904, has purchased over 15,000 works of art for the NGV.
The National Gallery of Victoria Art School, associated with the gallery, was founded in 1867. It was the leading centre for academic art training in Australia until about 1910. The School’s graduates went on to become some of Australia’s most significant artists.