LondonLife – The Australian coast comes to London…

October 6, 2015

Blue-PacificThe National Gallery has unveiled a coastal masterpiece by Australian painter Sir Arthur Streeton, Blue Pacific, lent to the gallery by a private collector for the next two years.

Painted in 1890, the painting – never seen before in the UK – depicts people strolling along the clifftops at Coogee in Sydney, looking eastward over the gleaming blue of the Pacific Ocean.

Christopher Riopelle, the gallery’s curator of post-1800 European paintings, says Streeton’s use of the vertical format was “brilliantly calculated to exploit the contrast between the azure sheet of water and the subtly observed depictions of rock face and sky”.

“Still young, but at the height of his powers, Streeton demonstrates here how impression was a capacious and flexible tool for confronting the awesome landscape unique to Australia.”

Streeton (1867-1943) was considered one of the most advanced landscape painters in Australia in the 1880s and 1890s and was one of the first to adopt an impressionist style. His masterpiece, Golden Summer (1889), was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1891.

Blue Pacific is now on show in Room 43 at the gallery off Trafalgar Square alongside Monet’s Water-Lilies and Manet’s The Execution of Maximilian.  Entry is free. For more on the gallery, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.

PICTURE: Blue Pacific, 1890, Sir Arthur Streeton (1867 – 1943), oil on canvas, © on loan from a private collection/via National Gallery.

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One Response to “LondonLife – The Australian coast comes to London…”

  1. artandarchitecturemainly Says:

    Great choice! Arthur Streeton was one of my favourite artists from the Heidelberg School of Art. From the late 1880s the young men (and a few women) started painting en plein air in the rural-based outer suburbs of Melbourne.

    Blue Pacific was, as you noted, painted in Sydney where the cliffs are much more dramatic. But the big difference was Streeton’s works were usually landscape-shaped and wide. Blue Pacific was portrait-shaped and tall.

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