Anne Von Bertouch (1915-2003) was a gallery director of the Von Bertouch Galleries in NewcastleNew South WalesAustralia believed to be the first commercial gallery outside a capital city in Australia. The gallery showed work by nationally prominent artists as well as artists associated with the Hunter Region of New South Wales, including still-life painter Margaret Olley(1923-2011), landscape drawer Shay Docking (1928-1998), mid-century modernist painter and textile designer Mary Beeston (b.1917), naïve artist Virginia Geyl (b. Holland 1917- d.1999) and the surrealist/religious painter Rona Scott, who created a mural for the film Tommy when it came to Australia.

The establishment of von Bertouch Galleries in 1963 (the city’s first commercial gallery) greatly enhanced the cultural life of Newcastle.

Anne von Bertouch introduced many significant artists to Novocastrian audiences. Her stable included Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, Lloyd Rees, Judy Cassab, Margaret Olley, Donald Friend and John Coburn. Her quest to make Newcastle the ‘art capital of Australia’ was furthered in 2003 when she bequeathed her own private collection to the city.

Born Anne Catherine Whittle, she was educated at Sydney Girls High School and Armidale Teachers College, and married Roger Von Bertouch in 1939. They lived in Tasmania where they taught and she studied at Hobart Technical College before moving to Myall Lakes in 1951 to live an alternative lifestyle. Her novel February Dark (runner-up in The Sydney Morning Herald Literary Award) was based on that experience. Her other published works include The Ride Home and a text on sculptor Guy Boyd.

Anne Von Bertouch was awarded honorary master’s degrees by the universities of Newcastle and New England and was awarded a medal in the Order of Australia in 1979. Newcastle University also awarded her an honorary doctorate of letters.

Anne Von Bertouch died in 2003.

Member comments

Vicki Dunn

‘I found this painting when cleaning out the shed. My husband says he bought it at Von Bertouch gallery ‘Collectors Choice’ exhibition in the late 70s.” It was painted by Wolfgang Degenhardt in 1978. He migrated to Greta in 1955 and worked at BHP in the coke ovens. Over the years he presented his paintings to every man who retired from the steelworks. He worked for BHP for 30 years retiring a few years before his passing in 1993. He won the inaugural Newcastle Art Prize. I guess his paintings may be hanging in many Newcastle homes?’