Flamboyant former director of Art Gallery of NSW Edmund Capon opened Hazelhurst gallery and became its patron

Patron of Hazelhurst Edmund Capon, AM OBE, with Hazelhurst board member Jiawei Shen and director Belinda Hanrahan at Hazelhurst’s 2015 exhibition, The Triumph of Modernism in the art of Australia, on 27 March 2015. Picture: supplied
Patron of Hazelhurst Edmund Capon, AM OBE, with Hazelhurst board member Jiawei Shen and director Belinda Hanrahan at Hazelhurst’s 2015 exhibition, The Triumph of Modernism in the art of Australia, on 27 March 2015. Picture: supplied

Edmund Capon, the flamboyant former long-serving director of the Art Gallery of NSW who died this week, made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Sutherland Shire.

Mr Capon officially opened Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre in 2000, visited many times and became patron of the centre in 2010.

Edmund Capon, AM OBE, died at 78 in England after a battle with cancer.

Cr Carol Provan paid tribute to Mr Capon at this week's council meeting.

"Edmund spent 33 years as director of the Art Gallery in NSW and he was a scholar and an exuberant showman," she said.

"He was inspirational, decisive, innovative and his love of art was infectious.

"The continuing evolution of the Art Gallery of NSW under his leadership as a significant art museum is testament to his spectacular success in this endeavour.

"He oversaw some of the most major purchases for the Gallery and was able to attract many generous benefactors."

Cr Provan said Mr Capon was recommended by Hazelhurst director Belinda Hanrahan to become the centre's patron, and the motion was put in council by Cr Jan Forshaw.

"Jan [the wife of present councillor Michael Forshaw] is also an Art Gallery tragic," Cr Provan said.

"At Hazelhurst, we had the privilege of enjoying Edmund's insights on many occasions and we were the beneficiaries of his generosity in curating one of our most successful exhibitions, The Triumph of Modernism, in 2015.

"I was lucky to listen to him and his wife explain the recent European Masters Exhibition at Hazelhurst.

"I came away from that exhibition enthused on European Art.

"Edmund Capon transformed the art world in Australia.

"His visits to Hazelhurst will be missed.

"Our thoughts are with Edmund's wife Joanna and his family at this sad time.

"His legacy at the Art Gallery of NSW will live forever."