Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the exhibition and study of Australian Aboriginal art. Their mission is to advance the knowledge and understanding of Australia’s indigenous people, their art and their culture around the world.
This little known Charlottesville museum is committed to working with living artists, international scholars and arts professionals; as well as provide a wide range of learning experiences to the University of Virginia community, its local residents and others, through public exhibition, research and educational programs. The Kluge-Ruhe Collection came into being in 1997 through a gift by American businessman, John W. Kluge. Mr. Kluge was influenced by the "Dreamings" exhibition in New York and began collecting Aboriginal art in 1988.
During the next decade Mr. Kluge amassed one of the finest private collections of Australian Aboriginal art in the world. In 1993, Mr. Kluge purchased the collection and archives of the late Professor Edward L. Ruhe. Professor Ruhe began collecting Aboriginal art while visiting Australia as a Fulbright Scholar in 1965. Professor Ruhe built a collection of the highest quality and exhibited it widely in the United States. The merged Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection represents a treasure trove of Australian aboriginal art and responds regularly to requests for artworks on loan to museums nationally and internationally.