Skip to main content
Painting depicting land and sea

The Sherman Gift

Recent gifts of artworks from the collection of Gene and the late Brian Sherman reveal a life of cultural engagement.

In 2021, the Museum received a generous gift of artworks from the collection of Dr Gene Sherman AM and the late Brian Sherman AM.

Born and raised in South Africa, the Shermans relocated to Australia in 1976. Gene taught French literature at the University of Sydney from 1976–80 and was awarded her doctorate in 1981. Brian had a successful career in financial management and supported Gene in the establishment of the eponymous Sherman Galleries (from 1986–2007) which presented contemporary art from Australia, the Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. 

Sherman Galleries pioneered exhibiting the 'post-Tiananmen generation' of Chinese émigrés who arrived in Australia after 1989. This connection served as Gene's entrée into China's post-revolutionary story, with subsequent regular travel to Beijing and Shanghai. The display includes a major work by renowned Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei, Big Mouse Kingdom

Also on display are four works by the Laotian-born Australian artist Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, whose subtle and delicate works speak to Gene's interest in textiles, fabric, and cloth.

Header image: (Detail) Guan Wei, Big Mouse Kingdom, 2005, acrylic on canvas. Donated by Gene and Brian Sherman through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program 2021, University Art Collection, UA2022.48