This exhibition provides an exceptional opportunity to enjoy the work of Australian artists from the nineteenth century. Familiar works by John Glover, Conrad Martens, Arthur Streeton and Julian Ashton will be exhibited alongside the less well-known and recently acquired watercolours by Louis Buvelot and Eugene von Guerard.
This wonderful selection of some 80 watercolours, drawings and pastels enlarges our appreciation of the all important collection of Australian art at the Gallery and our perspective on 19th century Australian art as a whole.
The flavour of nineteenth century Australian life is in each of the exhibited works. Scenes of kangaroo hunting, whaling, grape-picking and even of a cook going about his business at one of the artists' camps on Sydney Harbour in the late 1880s! There is humour, fine draughtsmanship and considerable acuity of observation.
Landscape predominates, although a wonderful recent purchase of a rare sheet of head studies of Vincent van Gogh, by John Russell, highlights the importance of portraiture through the nineteenth century. Russell's studies of van Gogh accompany memorable portraits by Tom Roberts, Phil May, George Coates, Abbey Altson, BE Minns, Rupert Bunny, Edith Cusack and the young George Lambert.
This exhibition is the fourth in a series concentrating on the collection of Australian works on paper undertaken in the last ten years. It will be accompanied by a book with full-page colour plates of all works selected, extensive catalogue entries and informative commentaries. Both exhibition and catalogue are by Hendrik Kolenberg, senior curator of Australian prints, drawings and watercolours, Anne Ryan, assistant curator and volunteer, Patricia James.