Australian Impressionists

7 Dec 2016 — 26 Mar 2017 at The National Gallery in London, United Kingdom

10 FEBRUARY 2017
In the Morning, Alpes Maritimes from Antibes, John Russell, 1890-1, Oil on canvas 60.3 × 73.2 cm. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1965
In the Morning, Alpes Maritimes from Antibes, John Russell, 1890-1, Oil on canvas 60.3 × 73.2 cm. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1965

Escape the darkness of winter for the light-filled landscapes of the Australian Impressionists in the first UK exhibition of its kind

Showcasing four innovative Australian Impressionist artists, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, and John Russell, this exhibition explores Impressionism in an Australian context – closely related to yet entirely distinct from its European counterparts.

From ‘snapshots’ of life in the rapidly teeming cities of Melbourne and Sydney to dazzling landscapes of coast and bushland, the paintings of Roberts, Streeton, and Conder came to epitomise a growing sense of national identity as Australia approached Federation in 1901.

Russell, by contrast, was an Australian expatriate who spent almost his entire career in France, counting Van Gogh, Monet, and Matisse among his friends. Like fellow artists in Australia, Russell embraced plein air painting to capture the fleeting effects of light in the landscape but became increasingly experimental in his use of colour.

Featuring loans from some of Australia’s leading museums and private collections, many of which have never been seen in the UK, this exhibition invites you to reconsider how Impressionism was understood at the time, as an international phenomenon which transformed itself as it travelled the globe.

This exhibition is organised by the National Gallery, in collaboration with Art Gallery of New South Wales.