Art market Magazine January 2017

 
EXHIBITION 
 
Impressionists in the bush 
recent…
EXHIBITION

Impressionists in the bush
recent exhibition on landscape painting at the National Gallery in London, "Forest, Rocks, Torrents", showed how the Impressionist movement spread
all over the world. "Blue Pacific", painted in 1890 by Arthur Streeton, was loaned to the Gallery in 2015. This view of Coogee Bay in Sydney was the first Australian painting to hang in Trafalgar Square, next to some waterlilies by Claude Monet. The National Gallery needed little prompting to devote an exhibition to the Australian Impressionists, presenting some forty paintings by four artists who imported the movement to their continent. "Theirs is a fascinating story," says the exhibition's curator, Christopher Riopelle, "unique but also representative of the movement that had captured the whole world's attention." Three of them, Sir Arthur Streeton (18671943), Charles Conder (1868-1909) and John Russell (1858-1930), founded what was known as the "Heidelberg School" near Melbourne, considered representative of the Australian Impressionist movement. Tom Roberts (1856-1931), perhaps the most

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gifted of the four, who stood out for his delicate lines and meticulous detail, was the first to study local landscapes. There's little to choose between him and Streeton; it's sometimes even hard at first glance to know who painted what, especially when the artists set up their easels in neighbouring landscapes, like Roberts' 1899 "The Camp, Sirius Cove", and Streeton's 1895 "Ariadne". The same applies when comparing Roberts and Conder – for example with the former's "Holiday Sketch at Coogee" and the latter's "Coogee Bay", painted at the same time in 1888.

Larger than life
The first show of Australia's Impressionist artists took place in 1889 in Melbourne, and featured 180 oil paintings (most painted on cigar box covers), some of which have now been loaned to the National Gallery. Organised by Tom Roberts, Charles Conder and Arthur Streeton, the event exhibited landscapes and views of Melbourne and Sydney, including "The

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Charles Conder (1868-1909), "Coogee Bay", 1888, oil on cardboard, 26.8 x 40.7 cm (detail). Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the Government of Victoria, 1979.

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©
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Art Market Magazine January 2017
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