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Private Art Collection

Introduction of Estate Howard & Ruth Johnson Newcastle October 2023

Howard & Ruth readily became friends during frequent gallery visits and our wide-ranging art discussions. They were always interested in exploring new and established artists’ work, and remained vitally engaged with art news, and with every
imaginable aspect of Art.

Howard was a psychiatrist who maintained a firm commitment to supporting patients in the public health system for his entire career. In 1966 he established and led The Shortland Clinic and then The Centre for Psychotherapy until his retirement. Ruth was a widely respected and much-loved teacher for decades at Belmont High and Newcastle Grammar School. Their compassion, expertise, and joie de vivre were much appreciated by the many people they served in their professional lives.

As individuals, and as a couple, they were a delight to be around and stimulating conversation never waned.

Howard and Ruth’s family has decided to release the artworks to the market from whence they came, completing the cycle of giving others the enjoyment and pleasure that these artworks have given the Johnson family. “Enjoy!” is what I feel Howard and Ruth would be saying now!

Amongst this exhibition is a small collection from a private collection from Maitland and a recent drawing just received, by Hilda Rix Nicholas, a little gem.


Exhibition comment:

There are art collections and art collectors of all standards, qualities and diversities of taste, which make up the subjectivity of one’s art preferences. Investment buying was never a primary consideration for Howard and Ruth: the Johnson Estate art choices were made with a keen and educated eye, a passion and love of art …. all 
blending. It may seem cliché however Howard & Ruth bought pieces they liked, which had personal meaning for them. I believe the art all but spoke to them and they wanted to learn about what they considered buying, and loved meeting the artists who made the art, whether 2D or 3D.
The artist’s name or reputation was not important, it was all about a connection!

My comment about aspects of this collection will now address the many important names represented in Australian and overseas artists being present; Whiteley, Moore, Chagall, Olsen, Thomas, Preston, Hinder, Blackman, Long, Boyd, Crooke, Rees to name a few.

Additionally, the historical Newcastle references will please many viewers and have become quite rare today. (Lycett, FB Schell, Robertson, and the ‘Eye sketch of the Hunter river’ and Pratt etc).
How Newcastle has changed from the 1880s?

Please ask about the background to any artwork on display, in many instances we have original purchase receipts available thereby giving an immediate provenance.

I hope you enjoy the diversity of this special exhibition!