The Ursula Hoff Collection
It is difficult to overstate the role Dr Ursula Hoff AO OBE (1909 – 2005) played in Australian museums. She was the first woman and tertiary educated art historian to be employed at a state gallery, Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Victoria between 1968 and 1973, and led the Felton Bequest in London, securing prizes for the NGV. Hoff has been awarded no less than three honorary doctorates and set world standards for cataloguing art.
Those that knew her, describe her as having a certain reserve, a tenacity of spirit and independence of mind. She was a champion of prints, crafting the NGV’s print department into a well oiled connoisseur, pursuing impressions of relevance, excellence and interest. For Ursula, the unjustly overlooked medium held great intellectual and aesthetic depth; it also democratised fine art.
In her collection of works on paper, presented here, we glimpse inside Hoff’s curious and lively mind. We glimpse tender moments between her and her artist friends, including Eric Thake and Erwin Fabian, as well as rare transportative visions of Europe. For collectors of works on paper or connoisseurs of art history, the Hoff collection will thrill.