Art movements and fashions may come and go but Australians love of their impressionists seems only to grow stronger. The latest exhibition to meet this demand is currently at The Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne until 22 August. It has the slightly awkward title of She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism. Guest-curated by Dr Anne Gray, this large-scale exhibition has over 250 works drawn from public and private collections around Australia.
There’s an all-star cast: Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, John (Peter) Russell and E.Phillips Fox. They are joined by lesser-known artists including Jane Sutherland and Clara Southern. New York- born Sutherland (1853-1928) emigrated aged nine with her parents and is represented by a lovely work ‘Field naturalists’. She was a significant figure in the Heidelberg School as was Southern (1860-1940) also represented by ‘An old bee farm’, a lovely soft palette landscape.
Among the star pieces are Roberts’ ‘Shearing the rams’ c1890, a nation-defining painting if ever there was one. Roberts (1856-1931) is included further with another great emotional work ‘Coming South’ from 1885; a moving depiction of the immigrant experience. Visitors will also be able to view a famous 1896 painting by Streeton, his magnificent ‘The purple noon’s transparent might’. This exhibition will be a source of pleasure and pride.
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