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The Tyler Gallery opens in Hobart, with art from Romania and beyond

Caltia

In a red-walled room deep within the University of Tasmania’s historic School of Arts Building on Hunter Street lies a precious piece of Romania, many precious pieces, in fact. The Tyler Gallery features artworks and books from Romania and beyond, as well as the exhibition Lyric and Light: the Art of Corneliu Petrescu.

Opened on Friday, August 6 by University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black, and attended by the Romanian Ambassador, H.E. Mr Radu-Gabriel Safta, The Tyler Gallery showcases the Tyler Collection, generously donated by Geoffrey and Frances Tyler. Mrs Tyler spoke by Zoom from the United States about how Geoffrey Tyler and Corneliu Petrescu met and recounted a personal story regarding the foundations of the Collection.

According to the University’s Registrar and Curator of Fine Art Collections, Ms Rachael Rose, ‘The Collection is an extraordinary testament to the vision of a collector who captured the tension of immense cultural and political change in Communist Romania.’

‘It represents a fascinating time capsule which has taken a serendipitous journey from Bucharest to Hobart via the collector’s home in Washington DC,’ Ms Rose said.

In his speech at the opening, Professor Rufus Black said, ‘That someone with the international pedigree of Geoffrey – a Melbournian working for the International Monetary Fund, travelling the world especially Eastern Europe and living in Washington – thought that Tasmania is the place where his collection should be, demonstrates Geoffrey’s singular connection to this island, and what an island place like this makes possible.’

It was a connection forged during Geoffrey’s time at school, and then during his Bachelor of Science at the University of Tasmania. He graduated from the University in 1949.

The Tyler Collection includes paintings, works on paper, sculptures, icons, and ceramics. Most were created in the 20th century by artists from Europe, Australia, and the US. However, the main focus is on Romanian artworks, collected when Geoffrey Tyler visited that country from 1973-1987 while working for the International Monetary Fund.

Predominant in the Collection is Romanian artist Corneliu Petrescu, who became a close friend and introduced Geoffrey to his circle of artist peers. Petrescu guided Geoffrey in choosing quality and representative works for his growing collection.

Professor Daryl Le Grew, former University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor, commented in 2010 ahead of the arrival of the Collection in 2013 that the University ‘has been fortunate over the years to be able to add to our already substantial Fine Art Collection through donations, as well as through planned acquisitions’.

‘The gift of the Tyler Collection brings an international perspective and an unusual richness to our collection and thus the whole State,’ he said.

Professor Rufus Black closed by paying heartfelt thanks to Geoffrey and Frances Tyler, emphasising the value of the connections that such a distinguished collection makes.

‘It is an extraordinary and transformative gift, we treasure it ... I am confident it will continue to make more of those connections, transform more lives and bring more stories into our world,’ he said.

The gallery will be open during library hours. For more information, please contact Carington Smith Library at galleries@utas.edu.au.

For enquiries about donations, please contact university.giving@utas.edu.au.

Published on: 11 Aug 2021 4:25pm