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Australian painters – INSPIRED BY THE BUSHAustralian painters – INSPIRED BY THE BUSH

A strong connection between Australia’s leading painters and its unique landscape has given us some of our finest works of art.

By John Dunn

Rural Australia has played a vital role in the nation’s art history, with many of our finest painters drawing inspiration from the inland of the continent, and the people who live and work there. Some of our leading artists chose the interior as their subject matter, including Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder and Hans Heysen. They were exponents of the Heidelberg School, a group of European-trained late-19th century artists who introduced impressionist principles to Australia. From a bushland setting outside Melbourne, the Heidelberg artists were the first to capture the light, colour, and atmosphere of the Australian landscape and sky.

Australian painters – INSPIRED BY THE BUSHRussell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan were also among the art leaders who depicted the Australian landscape, along with others, such as Arthur Boyd, whose family donated his property “Bundanon”, on the Shoalhaven River, in southern NSW, to the Australian people as an artists’ retreat.

Almost every year, there is at least one major exhibition somewhere around the nation either on this theme or closely associated to it. Last year, a Nolan selection entitled ‘Desert to Drought’ drew big crowds to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, while an exhibition put together by the Queensland Art Gallery and called ‘Exploring Outback – Artists’ Responses to Life on the Land’ travelled widely through that state.Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 35 June/July 2004

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