A major collection of artworks by Australian-born artist Denise Green AM has been donated to The University of Queensland.

UQ Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray said Denise Green’s husband, Dr Francis X. Claps, had given the substantial group of works, which span the artist’s career, through The University of Queensland in America, Inc. Foundation.

“The gift of 80 works on paper and 36 paintings is worth over one million Australian dollars, and is the most valuable gift of Australian art the University has ever received,” said Dr Gray.

“Apart from being an outstanding philanthropic gesture, ‘The Denise Green/Francis X. Claps Collection’ will form a remarkable resource for students and researchers.”

Ms Green was in Brisbane in September 2013 to celebrate the gift at the UQ Art Museum.

Born in Melbourne in 1946 and growing up in Brisbane, Ms Green studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne in Paris.

In 1969 she settled in New York, where she completed a Master of Fine Arts at Hunter College, The City University of New York (CUNY).

Her work first came to attention in 1978 in the exhibition New Image Painting at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, breaking the Museum’s tradition of only exhibiting works by American artists.

Retrospectives of Ms Green’s work have been held in major museums from P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art/Museum of Modern Art, New York, to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and numerous exhibitions in the USA, Europe and Australia.

Dr Claps began collecting key works by Ms Green early in her career, long before they were married.

“I am delighted to participate in this project concerning the disposition of Denise’s work, which I understand is rare, if not unprecedented,” Dr Claps said.

Ms Green encouraged her husband to donate the works to UQ, to acknowledge the city where she grew up.

“The warmth that I get from this project is, to a great extent, due to the fact that such a significant body of my work is coming back home,” Ms Green said.

Dr Gray said Ms Green had maintained a close relationship with the UQ Art Museum on her regular trips back to Australia, and was attracted by its serious commitment to contemporary art and emphasis on education and research.

“Ms Green and Dr Claps had planned the donation to occur posthumously but, as discussions evolved, it became clear that the process could be accelerated and happen during their life time,” Dr Gray said.

Brisbane audiences enjoyed a survey of her work at the Brisbane City Gallery (now the Museum of Brisbane) in 2001, and her work featured in a project show at the UQ Art Museum in 2005. Ms Green regularly exhibits with Andrew Baker Art Dealer in Brisbane.

Ms Green is the author of Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New Paradigm (Minnesota, 2005) and Denise Green: An Artist’s Odyssey (Minnesota, 2012).

In 2007 she was awarded the Order of Australia for service to the arts, particularly as an abstract painter and as an author, and through the promotion of Australian art and artists internationally.

The UQ Art Museum will celebrate the gift with a major exhibition and publication in late 2016.

Details of the Denise Green/Francis X. Claps Collection can be found at http://www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au/the-denise-green-francis-x-claps-collection, with the works searchable at http://www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au/collection/search.