Australian Art History ~ 182 Slides
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This is a complete presentation on Australian art history which is highly visual and thoroughly annotated. My preview is 20 of the slides in the presentation for you to download in the pdf file format. This will give you the best idea of what the product is like. There are also the below text excerpts.
Australian Art Historically
Australian art is any art made in Australia or about Australia, from prehistoric times to the present. Australia has produced many fine artists of both Western and Indigenous Art. Australian art is a vast topic so this is an overview of its overall development. Not every Australian artist of import could be covered, even with 182 pages.
Aboriginal art dates back at least 30,000 years. Aboriginal rock and cave artworks are found throughout the continent. Prime examples are in national parks. Aboriginal art may be the oldest art tradition in the world. The Western Desert Art Movement was a 20th-century aboriginal art movement. The aboriginal artists added acrylic paint to their supplies in the later 20th century.
The Colonial art period was from 1770–1900. The artists gradually shifted during this period from working with European light to Australian light. The two qualities of light are quite different. If one painted an Australian landscape with European methods of conveying light, it did not look right.
The Colonial period began with skills and techniques these artists brought to the new land from Europe. As the artists merged with the society and land, they kept adapting their styles so that it was more in tune with the new land.
The Heidelberg School of the 1880s-1890s established an Australian painting tradition. The name came from an art camp artists Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton had set up at a property near Heidelberg (outside Melbourne).
The painters at the camp used an impressionistic plein air technique with the Australian landscape. This art is now deeply embedded within the Australian culture. The camp members paintings were pastoral and depicted outback Australia. The French Impressionists greatly influenced this group.
The first slides are of the aboriginal rock and cave art. That is followed by the Colonial Period art. Then modern art is covered.
All Australian art shows a very strong connection with the land itself, every bit of its terrain.
Eugene von Guérard, 1811–1901, is Victoria, Australia’s most important colonial landscape painter. He was not a native but born in Vienna and trained as a painter in Rome, Naples and Düsseldorf. He migrated to Australia in 1852.
Von Guérard’s Victorian landscapes of the mid-1800s are prized for their attention to detail. Coming from Europe, he was fascinated by Australia’s very different geography, geology and vegetation. He painted all of it in minute detail.
Today his works have found a new audience with those who are environmentally concerned. He captured a pureness in nature that is vastly appealing.
He toured the world and painted Australia, New Zealand and also European landscapes.
Arthur Streeton, 1867 – 1943 was an Australian landscape painter and member of the Heidelberg School, also known as Australian Impressionism.
Streeton was born in Duneed, Victoria. His parents had met on the voyage from England in 1854. Streeton began his art studies with G. F. Folingsby at the National Gallery School.
He was influenced by French Impressionism and Turner. He met artists Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts and had his first exhibition at the Victorian Academy of Art in 1885.
He set up an art camp at Eaglemont, near Heidelberg. Conditions were primitive but he was joined by other artists who helped him make improvements. He painted some of his finest early works here.
Streeton's paintings are very collectible among Australian artists. They attract high prices at auction.
Albert Namatjira, 1902 – 1959, was a Western Arrernte-speaking Aboriginal artist from the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. He is Australia’s top Indigenous artist. His work was a departure from aboriginal art in that he used none of the abstract designs and symbols of traditional Aboriginal art.
Instead, Namatjira painted detailed, Western art-influenced watercolors of the Australian outback. He used the western painting device of contrasting colors in his landscapes. With the Australian terrain, this was often red with green.
Unfortunately, due to his tribe’s customs, Namatjira was constantly under pressure to support his tribal people from his painting sales. At one point, he was supporting about 600 people. Then the tribal people drank his alcohol, which put Namatjira in trouble with the law.
He died at age 57 of a heart attack. Many attributed it to the pressures being put upon him. He also believed that he was being "sung" to death by members of his tribe. He said he saw the bone pointed at him (portent of death).
Heide Circle was a group of Australian artists who lived and worked at "Heide", a former dairy farm on the Yarra River at Bulleen, outside Melbourne. Some members were Australia's best-known modernist painters.
Heide was owned by collectors John and Sunday Reed. John Reed published the modernist magazine “Angry Penguins.”
Modernist artists lived and worked during the 1930s-'50s at Heide.
Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff and Joy Hester worked at Heide. Nolan painted his series of Ned Kelly works in Heide’s living room.
Several of the Heide artists formed the Antipodeans Group later when abstract art came in, to take a stand against it.
Heide is close to Heidelberg, associated with an earlier Melbourne art movement, the Heidelberg School.
The Heide Museum of Modern Art today features most of the artists of the period.
Sidney Nolan, Melbourne, 1917 – 1992 was a top Australian artist of the 20th century. His best known work is his series of paintings based on Australian history and legends.
His work on outlaw Ned Kelly is the most famous of that series. He painted the first Ned Kelly during his stay at Heide. He also painted Australian explorers including Burke and Wills, and Eliza Fraser.
He was in a complex relationship with the Reeds who owned Heide. Both men were sexually involved with Reed’s wife. Ultimately they broke up, with the Reeds staying together. Nolan had to battle with Sunday Reed though to get his paintings back.
In the next slide, "Robbed" is shown. It is probably part of the Ned Kelly series. There is a legend about Kelly, that he humiliated two policemen by stripping them of their uniforms and their horses. He did historically ambush two policemen at Jerilderie. Ned Kelly was a real outlaw but there is a significant mythology surrounding him.
John Brack, 1920-1999, made his mark with his art from the 1950s. These were an edgy satirical commentary on Post World War II Australian culture, also called the "Australian Dream."
One painting is set on Collins St., showing a view of business rush hour in post-war Melbourne. It is rendered in browns and grays with clone like people. He was commenting on the conformity of 1950s boom style life.
He made a 1950s version of Manet’s "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère." His too was called "The Bar" and showed the "six o'clock swill," a drinking time set by the closing time of Australian pubs.