The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, Australia, has received a grant of 100 million Australian dollars (74 million US dollars) for the construction of a new building to display its collection of contemporary art. The money was provided by Lindsay Fox, a former truck driver who turned a one-vehicle operation into a multibillion-dollar transportation business, and his wife, Paula, a foundation board member. NGV, and represents the largest donation to an Australian cultural institution by a living donor. The funding complements $1.7 billion channeled to the Southbank Arts District from the Victorian state government and $20 million provided for the Contemporary Initiative by the Ian Potter Foundation in 2020.
Fox, who announced the historic donation on his 85th birthday, told local broadcaster 9News he made the donation at the request of his wife. “How could I say no after being married for sixty-two years?” He asked. According to The Guardian, the Foxes were regular donors to the institution, which itself had long relied on public funding, notably receiving half of pharmacist Alfred Felton’s considerable wealth upon his death in 1904. Although the donation arrived without conditions, the gallery will be known as The Fox: NGV Contemporary. NGV director Tony Ellwood told the publication that the name was “given by the government and the gallery” in recognition of the Foxes’ generosity.
The new gallery will be located behind the NGV International and will include 43,000 square feet of exhibition space, including a 130-foot-high circular lobby. Construction of the building, designed by Australian architecture firm Angelo Candalepas and Associates, will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in 2028. NGV officials expect the space to attract around one million visitors per year; the government has estimated that the project will generate eleven thousand affiliated jobs while it is underway, with more to come when it opens.