Front of the Gallery

About the Collection

The Art Gallery of South Australia was founded in 1881 and collects and displays art from Australia, Europe and North America, and Asia. The Gallery has one of the largest art museum collections in Australia, numbering around 38,000 works. The collections span the period from ancient Rome to the present day, and include paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, textiles, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, and furniture. The collections are displayed by both culture and medium, providing visitors with an historical and cultural framework with which to view them.

The Australian collection presents a comprehensive survey of Australian art from around 1800 to the present and showcases the nation’s art history through paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs and decorative arts, with a strong commitment to Australia’s Aboriginal art. The European collection ranges from the late fifteenth century to the present and also includes a wide-ranging and representative collection of British art. The Asian collections represent countries from throughout the region, including Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The collections are housed in a splendid building on Adelaide’s cultural boulevard, North Terrace. This fine historic building, with its magnificent interiors was opened in 1900. As the collection developed during the twentieth century, extensions were added in 1936, 1962 and 1996.

Several areas of the Gallery’s collections have been published in books that are available from the Gallery Bookshop. A large selection of images from the Gallery’s collections is available at our Online Gallery. More detailed descriptions of the Australian, European and North American and Asian collections follow.

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Australian Paintings and Sculpture

Australian Prints, Drawings and Photographs

Australian Decorative Arts

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art



European and North American Paintings and Sculpture

European Prints, Drawings and Photographs

European and North American Decorative Arts