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date: 21 September 2019

Chevalier, Nicholaslocked

(b St Petersburg, May 9, 1828; d London, March 15, 1902).
  • Bridget Whitelaw

Extract

(b St Petersburg, May 9, 1828; d London, March 15, 1902).

Swiss painter and illustrator of Russian birth, active in Australia. He spent his childhood in Russia and in 1845 returned to his father’s home town, Lausanne, where he studied painting at the Musée Arlaud under J. G. Guignard (1811–97). In 1851 he moved to London where he studied lithography under Ludwig Gruner, and in 1853–4 he studied watercolour painting in Rome. He arrived in Australia on 25 December 1854 and, after visiting the goldfields, started working as an illustrator for local newspapers. His work was politically perceptive rather than skilled in its draughtsmanship. Between 1858 and 1864 he accompanied scientific expeditions into the wilderness. Some of the studies made on these trips served as preparatory sketches for his grandiose landscape The Buffalo Ranges (exh. 1864; Melbourne, N.G. Victoria), the first Australian painting purchased for the National Gallery of Victoria.

In November 1865 Chevalier visited New Zealand and explored the South Island for eight months, completing several hundred sketches and watercolours that reveal his brilliance in this field. Chevalier was a founder-member of the Victorian Society for the Fine Arts in Melbourne, where his house provided a centre for the city’s artistic and literary élite. However, he left for London in ...

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