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Article

(b London, c. 1843; d Perth, Western Australia, May 8, 1879).

Australian watercolourist, Soldier, colonist and businessman of English descent. The son of the watercolour painter John Absolon (1815–95), he served in the Queen’s Rifles and exhibited paintings and sketches with the Society of British Artists before first visiting Western Australia in 1869. Shipboard watercolour sketches and many studies of the bushland environs of Perth, such as From the Verandah at Northam, (1869–70; see Kerr, p. 5) recorded this first journey. He returned to England to marry Sarah Bowles Habgood, the niece of Thomas Habgood, an influential colonist, and daughter of Robert Mace Habgood, who divided his business and shipping interests between London, Fremantle and Geraldton. The couple returned to Perth, Western Australia, where Absolon helped manage the family’s mining and mercantile interests. The firm of R. W. Habgood & Co. of Fremantle and London was known thereafter as Habgood Absolon & Co. He adapted his painting methods to an impressionistic manner that captured the harsh light and sparsely vegetated antipodean landscape. He also represented the London Art Union in Western Australia from ...

Article

Pamela Bell

(b Rome,1850; d Rome, July 2, 1881).

Italian painter and art teacher active in Australia. He trained at the Accademia di S Luca, Rome. His conservative style emulates his teacher Alessandro Capalti’s use of drape, column and rhetorical gesture, as seen in Capalti’s portraits at the University of Sydney. On Bishop James Quinn’s advice, Anivitti emigrated to Brisbane in 1871 with the sculptor Achille Simonetti. In 1875 he was appointed first teacher of painting and drawing at the Art Training School of the New South Wales Academy of Art, founded in 1871. Among his 30 recorded pupils were medal winners Frank Mahony (1862–1916), artist for the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia, whose drawing of Anivitti is at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and A. J. Fischer, staff artist for the Illustrated Sydney News and Bulletin.

Anivitti’s duties at the Academy included curatorship of a collection of paintings acquired by the Academy with government funds. These paintings became the foundation of the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, whose antecedents were in the Academy....

Article

Within a half-century of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Maori chiefs in 1840—the event from which the beginning of New Zealand (Aotearoa) is generally dated (and leaving aside from the present discussion the tribal art of the indigenous Maori and the early art created by European navigators, explorers, surveyors, itinerant artists, soldiers, and the like)—a rudimentary infrastructure of public art galleries, art societies, and some art schools had arisen in the main cities—Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and the beginnings of a discourse concerning the character and purpose of the visual arts in the new nation emerged. The central question was whether or not such a phenomenon as ‘New Zealand art’ existed or should exist and what characteristics it should aspire to. These matters were vigorously debated for a decade or so either side of 1890 when the infant nation marked its 50th anniversary with a jubilee. The discourse about national identity then largely disappeared for a generation only to emerge again a decade or so either side of ...

Article

(Rossi)

(b Alderstone, England, Jan 27, 1851; d Bondi, Sydney, April 27, 1942).

Australian painter and writer . He attended the West London School of Art and, following the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1878 the newspaper owner David Syme invited Ashton to Melbourne to produce black-and-white illustrations for the Illustrated Australian News. After a disagreement with the management he transferred to the rival Australasian Sketcher. In 1883 he went to Sydney, where he joined the staff of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia and also contributed to the Sydney Bulletin. Ashton was an ardent disciple of Impressionist painting and claimed to have executed the first plein-air landscape in Australia: Evening, Merri Creek (1882; Sydney, A.G. NSW). Much of his work, as in the watercolour A Solitary Ramble (1888; Sydney, A.G. NSW), had a strong sentimental streak. In addition to his outdoor works Ashton painted a number of portraits, such as that of Helen Ashton...

Article

Jeanette Hoorn

(b Bushy Creek, Victoria, c. 1824; d Coranderrk, Aug 15, 1903).

Australian Aboriginal painter and leader of the Wurundjeri people of Woi-Worung. His ancestral country was that surrounding the Yarra River and Port Phillip in Melbourne. He was related to the signatories of Batman’s Treaty of 1835 in which the Woi-Worung are thought to have ceded their land to the British Crown. Educated by Presbyterian missionaries, Barak fought a succession of governments who acted in the interests of pastoralists, in an effort to maintain the land that had been ‘granted’ to them at Coranderrk, near Healesville in Victoria.

Barak drew and painted in a figurative style on cardboard and thick paper, in charcoal, pencil, ochre, natural dyes and watercolour wash. His paintings detail the ceremonial lives of his community with many works showing the configurations associated with corroborees. Native animals including lyrebirds emus, snakes and echidnas are prominently represented in his compositions. A feature of his pictures is the extraordinary detail of the patterning found in the individual costumes of Wurundjeri and, in particular, the fine possum cloaks worn by them. Few of these original garments still exist but Barak’s paintings have inspired contemporary indigenous artists such as Treahna Hamm (...

Article

Christine Clark

(b Offenbach am Main, Hesse, Sept 5, 1808; d Bulloo, NSW, April 29, 1861).

Australian painter, Naturalist, meteorologist, ethnographer and explorer of German birth. He studied classics and natural science at the Ludwig Georg Gymnasium, Darmstadt, continuing his studies at Frankfurt am Main in lithography, geology, botany, meteorology and music. Aged 16 he illustrated Jakob Kaup’s Gallerie der Amphibien and in the following years produced further scientific illustrations. In 1840 he was appointed painter and portrait painter to the court of Ludwig III, Grand Duke of Hesse. Becker’s name was linked with Karl Marx and to the revolution of 1848, and he escaped in 1850 to England. He lectured and travelled in England and Scotland for several months before moving to Tasmania in 1851. In Australia he made botanical and meteorological studies, miniatures and a great many illustrations of Australian wildlife, land formations and Aborigines. In 1854 he designed the memorial medal for the Victorian Exhibition, Melbourne, the obverse showing the exhibition building. The medal was selected for display at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, in ...

Article

(Henry Frederick)

(b Melbourne, Dec 1, 1878; d Toorak, Victoria, Oct 22, 1966).

Australian painter. He attended the National Gallery School in Melbourne from 1896 to 1904. In 1904 he went to Paris, where he studied under Jean-Paul Laurens from 1904 to 1906. While in Paris he rebelled against his academic training, but he also rejected the principles of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. In paintings such as Night in Venice (1906; Mrs A. Niven priv. col., see 1979 exh. cat., pl. 5) he experimented with brushstrokes and paint texture while neglecting academic finish.

Bell left Paris in 1906 and went to England, where he became associated with a group of painters based in St Ives, among them Stanhope Forbes, the British painter Algernon Talmage (1871–1939) and Anders Zorn. While in England he joined the Modern Society of Portrait Painters, with whom he exhibited from 1907 to 1915. In 1908 he settled in London and joined the Chelsea Arts Club. He was appointed an Official War Artist in ...

Article

Jan Minchin

(b Hamburg, Aug 26, 1909; d 2000).

Australian painter of German birth. Untrained, she took up painting in 1936 at the suggestion of William Frater (1890–1974), a pioneer of modernist art in Melbourne who had been much influenced by Post-Impressionism. Over the next decade she developed a close working relationship with Frater. From 1943 to 1948 she lived at Darebin Bridge House, a converted hotel, which became a meeting place for artists and writers and was known as the ‘painter’s pub’: Frater, Ambrose Hallen (1886–1943) and Ian Fairweather had studios there. It was a stimulating and productive period. Her working method was rapid and intuitive. The vitality of her work derives most from the vigorous handling of paint and the strongly felt and immediate response to the subject. Colour was her main interest, and she used it to express mood and emotion. Subjects include cityscapes and a number of fine portraits: one of the best, the ...

Article

Mary Eagle

(Charles Wulsten) [Charles Rupert Wulsten]

(b St Kilda, nr Melbourne, Sept 29, 1864; d Melbourne, May 26, 1947).

Australian painter. After studying in Melbourne under G. F. Folingsby (d 1891), he moved to Europe in 1884 and studied in London under P. H. Calderon and in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens, who introduced him to the Société des Artistes Français in 1887. His early works consisted mainly of mythological subjects and graceful images of pleasant Symbolist landscapes (e.g. Pastoral, c. 1893; Canberra, N.G.); he defected to the New Salon in 1901 and produced some less decorative works, including images of biblical subjects (e.g. the Prodigal Son, c. 1903; Melbourne, Wesley Church). A long series of paintings of women followed (e.g. the Distant Song, c. 1909; Canberra, N.G.), but his style again changed abruptly when in 1913 he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne a series of images of dancers, The Rite (untraced; repr. in A. & Déc., xxxiv (1913), p. 170), that shows the influence of Primitivism. Although not attracted to the avant-garde, Bunny showed an adventurous spirit in his unusual sense of colour, sense of rhythm and witty use of his subjects’ poses. He continued to live in Paris and London until ...

Article

Jocelyn Fraillon Gray

(b Morges, Vaud, March 3, 1814; d Melbourne, Victoria, May 30, 1888).

Swiss painter, lithographer and photographer, active in Brazil and Australia. He attended a drawing school in Lausanne, where his teacher may have been Marc-Louis Arlaud (1772–1845), and is thought to have spent some time with the landscape painter Camille Flers in Paris c. 1836 en route to Bahia (Salvador), Brazil. In 1840 he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he established himself as a painter of local views and exhibited with the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, Rio. His Brazilian landscapes, of which the View of Gamboa (1852; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.) is an example, received critical acclaim for their vivacious lighting. As a photographer he fulfilled commissions in daguerreotype for Emperor Peter II, and with the figure painter Auguste Moreau he produced a set of 18 lithographs, Picturesque Rio de Janeiro, published in 1843–4. From 1852 to 1864 he worked as a portrait photographer in Switzerland and from ...

Article

Marie-Antoinette Grunewald

(b Lyon, Dec 9, 1807; d Paris, April 12, 1895).

French painter. From 1825 he studied under Louis Hersent, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix at the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Lyon and Paris. At an early age he held Republican and perhaps masonic beliefs. He was a learned scholar of history, philosophy, Orientalism and mythological symbolism, but his erudition impeded clarity of thought. He was rich enough not to have to support himself by painting, and in 1827 he went to Italy, where he was particularly impressed by the art of the Florentine Renaissance. From 1828 he was associated with the German Nazarenes, who reinforced his belief in the pedagogical value of art and encouraged him to adopt a cooler, more linear style. Peter Joseph Cornelius introduced him to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who soon afterwards tried to interest Chenavard in his own ideas about the philosophy of history. He acquired the idea of ‘palingenesis’, or rebirth, from the philosopher Pierre-Simon Ballanche; this doctrine, taken from Charles Bonnet and Giambattista Vico and fashionable between ...

Article

Bridget Whitelaw

(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 ...

Article

Ursula Hoff

(Edward)

(b London, Oct 24, 1868; d Virginia Water, Surrey, Feb 9, 1909).

English painter, active in Australia and France. He was sent to Australia in 1884 to learn surveying under his uncle W. J. Conder. After about two years in survey camps, he attended evening classes at the Royal Art Society, Sydney; in 1887 he worked as a lithographic draughtsman for the Illustrated Sydney News. Tom Roberts, then in Sydney on a visit from Melbourne, was among the open-air landscape painters that he knew at this time. He taught Conder some of the principles of Impressionism, such as truth to the momentary effect of light and to colour values, and the rejection of the academic ideal of high finish. The most important painting of Conder’s Sydney years, the Departure of the ‘SS Orient’ from Circular Quay, 1888 (1888; Sydney, A.G. NSW), already showed a distinct personal style, combining humour with nostalgia and selective observation with decorative finesse of handling and design. In ...

Article

William McAloon

(b Upper Hutt, Oct 3, 1964).

New Zealand painter of Maori descent. Cotton studied at the University of Canterbury, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1988. He is prominent amongst a generation of Maori artists that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s including Michael Parekowhai (b 1968), Lisa Reihana (b 1964), and Peter Robinson, all of whom were schooled in contemporary Euro-American art styles and debates and then explored their Maori identities in relation to globalization and post-colonialism. Cotton’s early 1990s works were contemporary history paintings, locating New Zealand’s conflicted past firmly in a bicultural present. Drawing upon Maori figurative styles from the late 19th-century, particularly in meeting-houses inspired by the prophet and resistance leader Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, Cotton’s sepia-toned works juxtaposed these images with customary Maori carved forms, written Maori script, the coastal profiles of early European explorers, and appropriations from contemporary artists as diverse as Imants Tillers, Bridget Riley, and Haim Steinbach....

Article

Cameron Sparks

(b Ballarat, May 21, 1864; d Looe, Cornwall, March 26, 1939).

Australian painter. He trained at the Ballarat School of Design, the National Gallery School, Melbourne, and the Académie Julien, Paris. He was associated with the Heidelberg school in the 1890s, when he specialized in poetic evocations of evening, for example Moonrise (1894; Melbourne, N.G. Victoria). In 1897 he moved permanently to Europe, working in St Ives, Cornwall, England; the Conway Valley, Wales; and Dieppe, France, for 25 years and finally settling in Looe, Cornwall. He produced oils and watercolours of all these localities, as well as, portraits and flowerpieces. Among his more important European work in oil was St Ives Bay, Cornwall (1904; Adelaide, A.G. S. Australia) and A Normandy Village (1919; priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat., p. 53).

Although uninterested in theory and independent of contemporary artistic movements, Davies admired Monet and may have been influenced by Jean-Charles Cazin and Achille-Théodore Cesbron. His style was essentially simple, picking out a few details within a broader atmospheric effect. In his early work he favoured sombre earth colours, which brightened when he moved to Europe, particularly when he worked in watercolour although he retained a penchant for the muted tones of dusk and grey weather....

Article

Christine Clark

(b London, 1767; d Hobart, Tasmania, July 11, 1851).

English painter, printmaker and sculptor, active in Australia. In London he exhibited six portraits at the Royal Academy (1817–23) and three genre paintings at the British Institution and engraved two colour plates for George Morland, before moving to Hobart, Tasmania, in 1832. At the Hobart Mechanics’ Institute in 1833 he delivered the first lecture in Australia on the subject of painting. In 1849 he contributed the paper ‘The School of Athens as it Assimilates with the Mechanics Institution’ to a series of seven lectures (later published) delivered at the Institute. Duterrau painted landscapes and portraits but is best known for his works depicting the Aborigines of Tasmania and their traditional way of life. He was very interested in the events that led to the exclusion of the Aborigines from Tasmania, and in a series of works begun in 1834 but not executed until the early 1840s he showed George Augustus Robinson under commission from the Governor of Tasmania to restore peace with them. ...

Article

Barbara B. Kane

(b Melbourne, March 12, 1865; d Melbourne, Oct 8, 1915).

Australian painter and teacher. From 1878 to 1886 he trained at the National Gallery of Victoria Art Schools, Melbourne, and in 1887 left to study in Europe. In Paris he attended the Académie Julian and was taught by Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and by the American artist T. Alexander Harrison (1853–1930). He was involved with the plein-air artists at Etaples, Pas-de-Calais, and in Brittany and also visited Giverny, where from 1883 Monet was living. By 1890 he had moved to England, to the artists’ colony at St Ives, Cornwall. In 1892 he returned to Melbourne where he chiefly painted portraits and landscapes. He was a member of the Victorian Artists’ Society, exhibiting with them between 1892 and 1900. In 1893 he established the lively Melbourne Art School with Tudor St George Tucker (1862–1906). There an academic training coupled with a modified Impressionist technique was taught, as can be seen in Fox’s painting the ...

Article

(b Uxbridge, nr London, Feb 7, 1872; d Melbourne, June 17, 1952).

Australian painter of English birth. She trained under the English painter Francis Bate (1858–1950) and from 1898 to 1902 she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London under Henry Tonks and Frederick Brown. She then went to the artists’ colony in St Ives in Cornwall where she met Emanuel Phillips Fox, whom she married in 1905. The two painters then travelled around France, North Africa and Spain, visiting Australia in 1908 and 1913. In 1915 her husband died and she then travelled between Australia and Europe, running an art school for American and Australian students in Paris. She exhibited in Paris at the Salon d’Automne from 1904 to 1930 and at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1906 to 1937, and she was also a regular exhibitor in London. During the two World Wars she organized art unions for the relief of artists. In the 1930s she campaigned to persuade the Australian national art collections to buy works from modern French artists, such as Degas, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec. Her paintings were influenced by Post-Impressionism and were of genre, flower and landscape subjects, as in the ...

Article

Christopher Johnstone

[Friström, Clas Edvard]

(b Torhamn, nr Karlskrona, Sweden, Jan 23, 1864; d San Anselmo, CA, March 27, 1950).

Sweden-born painter and teacher, active in Australia, New Zealand, and America. In 1884, Fristrom joined his older brother, the painter Oscar Fristrom (1856–1918), in Queensland, married in 1886, and became an Australian citizen in 1888. Employed as a photographic retoucher, Fristrom was a self-taught artist and from 1899 to 1902 he exhibited 53 paintings, including landscapes and figure studies, some featuring Aborigines, at the Queensland Art Society exhibitions. Fristrom’s artistic success is indicated by two commissions from the state government and enthusiastic reviews in the press.

In 1903 Fristrom travelled to the United States and then to New Zealand, settling in Auckland and joining the Auckland Society of Arts. He exhibited 60 paintings there, almost all landscapes, from 1904 to 1914. Until 1911 Fristrom regularly travelled around New Zealand, from Gisborne to Hokitika, selling his paintings at auctions. He also taught at the Elam School of Art, Auckland from ...

Article

(b Birmingham, March 15, 1863; d Waverley, Oct 1, 1930).

Australian painter, etcher and illustrator, also active in England. In his formative years he undertook illustrative commissions for the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia, as well as for the Australian Town and Country Journal and other publications. For a time he painted with his friends Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder at their camps around Mosman, or on trips to Richmond and along the Hawkesbury River. In his best paintings of this period he achieved a lyricism and sure handling of paint that resembles the work of Conder. During this period he also became interested in etching. In 1900 he moved to New York and the following year he travelled to London, where he continued to work as a black-and-white artist with the London Graphic and Black and White. He painted landscapes depicting picturesque sights and developed an interest in monotypes, using the delicacy of this medium to create soft, low-key images of atmospheric subjects. He worked in the tradition of English landscape painters, such as John Constable and John Sell Cotman, producing calm, quiet, understated images....