About our collection

Over recent decades, artists have been exploring the rich legacy of art history and have critically examined the conventions and contexts of the tradition of art. These days it is common for the work of artists to go beyond aesthetic concerns and to challenge preconceived notions about the nature of art and its role in society.

While much contemporary practice is based on a broader use of materials, new technologies and responses to different cultural contexts, works in the Allens collection illustrate that the art of painting and aesthetic concerns are still fundamental to artistic expression.

The Allens collection dates from the late 1970s, when the firm moved into offices of the then new MLC Centre, Sydney. What began as a way of enlivening the office environment has grown with time to become a significant survey of painting over the last three decades. The collection has now over a thousand works hanging in all of our offices. They not only create vibrant workplaces in a range of contexts, but reveal an ongoing commitment to young and emerging artists in this country. In fact, a core purpose of the collection is to support young, unknown Australian artists – we don't buy work from artists who already have a high profile.

The works also reflect the passion of former partner Hugh Jamieson – the driving force of the collection. In an introduction to an exhibition of works in 1993 he wrote: 'In the closing years of the twentieth century, Australians, if they are to survive, are faced with the need to find innovative solutions to their problems. This is also true in the practice of law. For those of us who work with the collection in front of us every day, the artists encourage us to confront the new, not only through the colour and vitality of their works, but also by the messages they convey. By supporting working artists, the firm is encouraging the development of Australian cultural expression. By providing a platform for this expression, the firm makes a statement about the sort of Australia it believes in.'

For more information about our collection, please contact Maria Poulos.

For more details of the artists please select the name in the list below.