It was with deep sadness that the Gallery – and the greater Queensland arts community – said farewell to one of its greatest supporters and friends, Mrs Win Schubert AO, following her recent passing.
Mrs Schubert was one of the most generous benefactors in the QAGOMA Foundation’s 37 year history. Her inspiring patronage – which spanned over two decades – enabled the acquisition of over 100 important works for the State Collection, many of which are visitor favourites. Who wouldn’t recall with delight Cai Guo-Qiang’s poetic and allegorical assembly of 99 animals, Heritage 2013; Yayoi Kusama’s Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011; or the recently displayed Kohei Nawa’s PixCell-Double Deer #4 2010?
These are just a few of the Gallery’s acquisitions made possible through her remarkable generosity. The last, and most significant acquisition made with Mrs Schubert’s support, was Nick Cave’s Heard 2012. This majestic work was brought to life with performances over summer that captivated thousands of visitors and were undoubtedly highlights of the celebrations for GOMA turning 10.
While Mrs Schubert generously supported a number of ambitious and engaging international acquisitions, her giving primarily focused on art from Australia and Queensland. Most outstandingly, her support through the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts enabled the Gallery to hold Australia’s most comprehensive collection of works by Ian Fairweather.
Mrs Schubert’s inspiring benefaction was acknowledged in 2012 through the naming of galleries 10-13 of the Queensland Art Gallery as the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries, and again in 2015 when she was awarded the Gallery medal. Upon receiving the Gallery medal, QAGOMA Director Chris Saines, CNZM stated that ‘Her support continues to expand the distinct and enduring significance of art in our lives. We remain humbled by her generosity and moved by her dedication to the Gallery, to the arts, and to the Queensland community.’
In addition to recognition from QAGOMA for her enduring patronage, Mrs Schubert was also honoured by the State and Federal governments for the greater role she played in the development of art in Queensland. In 2014 she was recognised as a Queensland Great and also appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Mrs Schubert was also granted the keys to the City of the Gold Coast in 2015 for her ongoing contribution to Gold Coast arts and culture.
Those who knew the very private Mrs Schubert knew that her generosity was matched by her humility. The motivation for her giving was never to seek accolades or public recognition, but purely because she found great joy in sharing her passion for art. Mrs Schubert was unique and while her physical presence at the Gallery will be greatly missed, her legacy lives on through the many works her generosity helped to acquire.
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Featured image: Kohei Nawa PixCell-Double Deer#4 2010 / © Kohei Nawa / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA