The Arts

The Heidelberg School of Painters

The Heidelberg School, also known as The Heidelberg Art School, is an Australian art movement originating in the late 19th century - the movement has also been described as Australian Impressionism.

Heidelberg18-ArthurStreeton   Walter-Withers-Eaglemont

Originating in July 1891, when art critic, Sidney Dickinson wrote a review of the exhibitions of works by Walter Withers and Arthur Streeton. Dickinson noted that these artists, whose works were mostly painted in the Heidelberg area, could be considered as "The Heidelberg School". Since that time, The Heidelberg School has taken on a wider meaning and covers Australian artists of the late nineteenth century who painted plein-air in the impressionist tradition. These artists were inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the Yarra and the unique light that typifies the Australian bush.

The works of these artists are notable, not only for their merits as compositions, but as part of Australia's historical record. The period immediately before Federation is the setting for many classic Australian historical stories of the "bush", both fact and fiction. The School's work provides a visual complement to these tales and their images have embedded themselves into Australia's historical subconscious. Many of the actual artworks can be seen in Australian galleries, notably the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. Many of the locations the paintings depict and originated from are now threatened by the proposed North East Link freeway.

The name "Heidelberg School" refers to the then rural area of Heidelberg, east of Melbourne where practitioners of the style found their subject matter, though usage expanded to cover other Australian artists working in similar areas. The core group painted there on several occasions at "artist's camps" in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Besides Arthur Streeton and Walter Withers, other major artists in the movement included Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Charles Conder.

The School's artists were clearly influenced by the international Impressionist movement, and took up many of the concepts of the group. They regularly painted plein air landscapes, as well as using art to depict daily life. They showed a keen interest in the instantaneous effects of lighting, and experimented with a variety of brushstroke techniques; McCubbin in particular used the small, contrasting blocks of strong colour that were a trademark of some Impressionist work. However, these artists should not be viewed as merely copying an international trend. Works of the Heidelberg school are generally viewed as some of the first Western art to realistically and sensitively depict the Australian landscape as it actually exists. Many earlier works look like European scenes and do not reflect the harsh sunlight, earthier colours, and distinctive vegetation of the land they painted.

Visit the Heidelberg artists trail to retrace the steps of the Heidelberg painters

Source: Wikipedia

The Angry Penguins

The Angry Penguin painters are considered to be the major figures of a modernist movement in Australian art, based in Melbourne, which has determined and shaped Australian contemporary art. The Angry Penguins included Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Max Harris, John Perceval, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester. Their aim was to modernise Australian creative arts and poetry, and challenge traditions they saw as restrictive in Australia in the 1940s.

Arthur-Boyd-c1946   sidney-nolan

Contemporary movements in Europe, such as surrealism and French symbolism influenced the Angry Penguins. These movements were seen as vital by the Angry Penguin painters to modernise the contemporary Australian art scene and also to inspire Australian artists in finding different and more relevant modes of expression.

Consequently, the Angry Penguins adopted a spontaneous and visionary approach to their creative process. Nolan, for example, was a fast and prolific painter, working without preliminary sketches, often painting from memory. The symbolic surrealism in the works by Nolan, Boyd, Hester and Tucker added a new and exciting dimension to a somewhat stagnant Australian art scene. They shared a meeting place with other artists and writers at the home of the wealthy art patrons, John and Sunday Reed, Heide, just outside Melbourne, now Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Source: Culture Portal - Australian Government

Heide Museum of Modern Art and its serene parklands are also threatened by the proposed North East link freeway.









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