William and Rene Ritchie Gallery – Australian Art 1960 to 1985

This room displays artwork from a time of great social and political upheaval. Artists were looking to New York as their cultural focus and were interpreting Pop Art and Photo-realism, and experimenting with Hard Edge Abstraction.

In 1967, when James Mollison was appointed the Gallery's first professional Director, he started to acquire work that was at the very forefront of Australian art practice, exposing Ballarat locals and visitors to art that questioned, initiated discussion and forced us to look at ourselves. Large paintings were again the norm with commercial buildings booming and art needed for large spaces.

Like the Powell Gallery, this room was created as an exhibition space in 1987. It commemorates William and Rene Ritchie, local business people and keen art collectors. Their son Blair bequeathed many of the works in their collection to the Gallery in 1998.