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S.H. Ervin Gallery

About the Gallery

The S.H. Ervin Gallery is one of Sydney’s leading public art institutions and its exhibition program is designed to explore the richness and diversity of Australian art, both historical and contemporary, and present it in new contexts. The Gallery is renowned for its exhibitions of recent Australian art as well as those with a historical emphasis. In addition, the S.H. Ervin Gallery has developed an excellent name for presenting important exhibitions and programs that recognise the valuable contribution made by Australian women artists.

The S.H. Ervin Gallery hosts up to seven changing exhibitions each year, including major travelling exhibitions, which focus on the work of Australian artists. The Gallery has presented major survey exhibitions of artists including Clarice Beckett, Albert Tucker, Violet Teague, Kathleen O’Connor, Margo Lewers, Jean Bellette, William Robinson, John Coburn, Cressida Campbell, Nicholas Harding, Euan Macleod and Wendy Sharpe. The S.H. Ervin Gallery also hosts popular annual shows including the Salon des Refusés: The alternative Archibald and Wynne Prize, and the Portia Geach Memorial Award for women artists.

Collection Strengths

The S.H. Ervin Gallery collection was established through the bequest of its eponymous benefactor Mr Samuel Henry Ervin, collector & patron. With over 450 paintings, drawings, prints and watercolours as well as sculpture and decorative art objects. The majority of the artists represented in the collection are Australian, and primarily representative of the period from the mid-nineteenth up until the late 20th century. In addition to the S.H. Ervin Bequest, the Gallery’s collection is made up of the Alan Renshaw Bequest, the Mavis E. Cope Bequest and a number of other gifts and acquisitions from artists and collectors.

Programming Strengths

The Gallery is known for its artist survey exhibitions and thematic exhibitions that respond to current issues and for its commitment to the presentation of the work by women artists past and present. Annual exhibitions include the Salon des Refusés: the ‘alternative’ Archibald & Wynne Prize selection and the Portia Geach Memorial Award for portraiture by women artists. The Gallery also administers the biennial $50,000 Evelyn Chapman Art Award for younger painters.

Exhibition Spaces

The Gallery consist of one large exhibition space, an adaptive re-use of the former Fort Street School. The Gallery building dates from1856 and the school operated on the site until the early 1970s before the Gallery opened in 1978. The Gallery features over 400 square metres with around 100 running wall metres on moveable walls which can be configured to alter the space for each exhibition.

Visit the Gallery


end of Watson Road
Observatory Hill
The Rocks Sydney 2000


02 9258 0173



  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Carpark
  • Giftshop
  • Café/Restaurant
  • Conference facilities