5 x 5 – the Artist and the Patron
The artist-collector relationship has existed for millennia, manifesting in multiple forms with varying outcomes. During the Renaissance, the patronage of the Medici family enabled Raphael and Leonardo DaVinci to focus solely on art. Just outside Melbourne, during the mid twentieth century, at their home Heidi, John and Sunday Reed invited a young Sidney Nolan inside their world, creating a consummate creative union. In Sydney, Judith Nielsen has helped usher contemporary Chinese artists from emerging to legendary status. Each partnership has yielded significant outputs reverberating throughout different cultures.
5X5 recognizes the cultural significance of these types of pairings by exploring the trajectories of five artists and their parallel collector relationships:
- Amanda Love / Tracey Emin
- Dr. Dick Quan / Uji ‘Hahan’ Handoko Eko Saputro
- Lisa Paulsen / Patrick Hartigan
- James Emmett / Julian Meagher
- The Private Collector / Nigel Milsom
Marking a twenty-five-year relationship, artist Julian Meagher and collector James Emmett have the longest standing association of all the collector-artist pairings showcased in 5X5. Their journey begins when they went to high school together. The pair would become closer friends when Emmett’s partner, Peter Wilson commissioned Meagher to paint Emmett’s portrait during their university years (included in this exhibition).
The works included in this exhibition span the entire period of the Emmett and Meagher’s art collecting/ art making histories. Interestingly, Meagher admits that some of these earlier works are no longer representative of his current practice, revealing the temporal nature of collecting. Often new acquisitions redefine the collection or an artist’s output as a whole by casting new light on past works or acquisitions and suggesting possible directions for the future. Nevertheless, this relationship timestamps their shared experiences as they developed into their adult selves.