The Australian Watercolour Institute is Australias oldest and most prestigious
watercolour society with a national and international membership comprising the
most eminent artists in Australia, England, Scotland, China and America. It was
on Tuesday, 21st August 1923, that the Australian Watercolour Institute was born.
The venue was 50 Young Street, Sydney. Six artists, B. E. Minns, A.J. Daplyn, C.E.S.
Tindall, Martin Stainforth, J.A. Bennett, , and A.H. Fullwood, were the initial
members of the newly-formed Institute. Their stated aim was to encourage the practice
of watercolour, as well as to promote the appreciation and ownership of watercolour
paintings. These six artists were fine exponents of the medium, who recognised the
need to establish a body consecrated exclusively to watercolour.
Subsequently, another eight artists were invited to join the Australian Watercolour
Institute as foundation members, notably Albert Collins, John Eldershaw, Harold
Herbert, Syd Long, M.J. McNally, H. Septimus Power, J.W. Tristram and Blamire Young.
Under the presidency of B.E. Minns, and with the ground rules in place, eleven of
the fourteen foundation members and thirty-two non-members showed together at the
Australian Watercolour Institutes first exhibition at Anthony Horderns Art Gallery
in March 1924.
This inaugural exhibition established a format for subsequent AWI exhibitions, which
embrace a variety of styles and subject matter. The works of non-members were selected,
exhibited and reviewed. New members were recruited from these exhibitions, often
only after several shows, with a view to maintaining the highest possible standards.
This selective process remains in place.