“There is no other place in Australia where you can stand and be surrounded with the spirit and history of the beginnings of Australia’s Art.”
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Victorian Artists’ Society had its beginnings in 1870 when a small group of artists and lay persons met in magistrate James Robertson’s house at Blessington Street, St. Kilda, to form the Victorian Academy of the Arts – the direct ancestor of the VAS.
Among the founders were Louis Buvelot, J A Panton, Thomas Clark and Hubert de Castella. This heavyweight group were instrumental in not only securing the Crown Land Grant on which our building now stands, but in the early establishment of the Society as a legal entity.
Immediately following the grant of land in Albert Street in 1873, a small bluestone building was erected, which although almost totally subsumed by the present building, still serves both as a studio and a reminder of our colonial past.
In 1886 the professional artist members, led by Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Charles Conder formed the Australian Artists Association. Later in 1887 talks commenced to unite the two groups forming the Victorian Artists’ Society.
It is within these walls that young artists including Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts, Walter Withers, Frederick McCubbin, and many others, commenced their journey of brushstrokes, which today form the foundation of Australia’s major art collections in national galleries across Australia.