The collection which has been called the National Gallery of Australia's "gem" has been put in the spotlight this week with the launch of the institution's latest exhibition Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection.
The exhibition draws on the National Gallery's extensive collection of post-war American art of about 7400 pieces - the most significant collection from outside the United States.
Transporting audiences back to the heyday of America's print-making, the exhibit explores master printer Ken Tyler's collaborations with some of the 20th century's artistic masters including Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol through workshops.
"The whole thing of this exhibition is how working in this workshop it would be anything can go, you can use any techniques, you can think as broadly or in the most exciting way possible, you can do almost anything you want to do with assistance or collaboration with Ken Tyler," curator and the gallery's head of International art Jane Kinsman said.
"That actually changed the artist's practice for the better and it meant that experience at the workshop meant they could then move on to other things."
While internationally other Ken Tyler collections have work created from workshops on either the east or west coast, the National Gallery's collection has works from across the United States. And it all began with the initial purchase of Tyler's printers proofs in 1973, by the gallery's inaugural director James Mollison.
"[James Mollison] was well aware that great art isn't always in painting and so he was open to seeing that these amazing works by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Albers and so on, they had importance," Dr Kinsman said.
"And then we built on that in 2002 when the National Gallery started following in James' footsteps and built a further tier of work where we got everything from the east coast, everything from the west coast and a lot of the proprietary work too.
"This is a sample of a most extraordinary collection of art ... and it represents the most remarkable development in prints and multiples in post-war America."
- Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection is on display at the National Gallery of Australia until March 9, 2020.