Postcard from Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
Anne and I wanted to return to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) as I’d seen so many great exhibits while she enjoyed lunch with a writer friend.
I knew she’d be interested to see works by Rodin, Manet and Van Gogh, but there was so much more to see … so back we came.
WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS ON OUR SECOND VISIT TO NGV?
I took hundreds of photographs at the NGV and it’s proved very hard to decide which ones not to share with you; I have so many wonderful memories of our visit to this gallery.
However, we picked two – the ones which were most special for us.
First, since Anne and I chose a particularly hot day to return to NGV – and to make the most of the air-conditioned environment – this painting by David Davies made us laugh.
His ‘A Hot Day’ perfectly captures the Australian climate at a glance.
Second, is a gem by JMW Turner.
As we were fast approaching the end of our long vacation in Australia, our thoughts were beginning to turn towards home. Although we now live in Salcombe in Devon and, at that moment, we were in Melbourne, it was a lovely surprise to see ‘Walton Bridges’. This painting brought back into sharp focus the many times in my life when, forty plus years ago, I drove from my home in Shepperton and crossed a more modern version of these bridges en route to Walton Station for my daily commute to London. How time flies?
YOU WANT TO SEE SOME MORE PHOTOS?
I have plenty!
It will come as no surprise that many of the paintings on display in the NGV show life in Australia as it was way back and, then, as it is now.
In ‘A lord of the bush’, Hans Heyson shows no sentiment. According to the description given by NGV, Heyson was profoundly inspired by the romantic landscape paintings of Constable (and others).
By the turn of the century, the bush had become an object for nostaglia in Australia culture. Rural life was disappearing with the advent of industrialisation and increasing population, but with this iconic painting of the cost to the early Australian settler, Heyson’s able draughmanship and genuine love of the natural world helped to show Australian bush life to those who might never experience it.
Then there was ‘The Shearing of the Lambs’ by Tom Roberts: the finest example of life in the outback in the nineteenth century.
Roberts did a number of preliminary sketches on the spot at Brocklesby Station, Corowa, NSW in 1888. He then returned twice more during the brief shearing period of the following two springs to work on his painting. Once completed, it was exhibitied in his studio in Collins St, Melbourne.
Collins St also features in this next image.
This more modern painting is John Brack’s depiction of commuters in an Australian city. The heading reads: Collins St where it’s 5pm forever.
The young men in suits are shown as packs, resembling sardines.
You’ve now missed NGV’s recent exhibition of one of Australia’s greatest living artists: John Olsen. It closed yesterday!
Olsen is noted for his lyrical depictions of the australian landscape. His work includes ceiling paintings, tapestries and decorated ceramics. All his work radiates energy and is the finest example of the abstract expressionism movement in Australia.
It was difficult to choose just one work from the ‘You Beaut Country’ exhibition to share with you, so there are three here for you to admire.
WHAT IS THERE FOR YOU TO SEE AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA (NGV)?
As well as the various individual works of art at NGV, the wonderful (see my blog of 9 January) is on until 13 March.
And, at Tate Britain, back in the UK, to mark David’s 80th birthday, there’s a large scale retrospective of his work from 9 February until 20 May 2017. I’ll be making time to go up to London for this exhibition and will report in due course here on my blog.
This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.