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Australian art is any
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

art
made in or about
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, or by Australians overseas, from
prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
times to the present. This includes
Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aboriginal Australians ****Australian Aboriginal identity ...
, Colonial,
Landscape A landscape is the visible features of an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) an ...

Landscape
,
Atelier An atelier () is the private workshop Beginning with the Industrial Revolution era, a workshop may be a room (architecture), room, rooms or building which provides both the area and tools (or machinery) that may be required for the manu ...
, early-twentieth-century painters, print makers, photographers, and sculptors influenced by European modernism,
Contemporary art Contemporary art is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and ...

Contemporary art
. The visual arts have a long history in Australia, with evidence of Aboriginal art dating back at least 30,000 years. Australia has produced many notable artists of both
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
and
Indigenous Australian Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continen ...
schools, including the late-19th-century
Heidelberg School The Heidelberg School was an Australian art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or de ...
plein air painters, the
Antipodeans The Antipodeans were a group of Australian modern artists who asserted the importance of figurative art, and protested against abstract expressionism. They staged a single exhibition in Melbourne during August 1959. History The Antipodeans grou ...
, the Central Australian
Hermannsburg School The Hermannsburg School is an art movement, or art style, which began at the Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, Hermannsburg Mission in the 1930s. The best known artist of the style is Albert Namatjira. The movement is characterised by watercolours ...
watercolourists, the
Western Desert Art Movement Papunya Tula, registered as Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd, is an artist cooperative formed in 1972 in Papunya, Northern Territory, owned and operated by Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal people from the Western Desert cultural bloc, Western Desert ...
and coeval examples of well-known
High modernism High modernism (also known as high modernity) is a form of modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era) and the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and pra ...
and
Postmodern art Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosophe ...
.


History


Indigenous Australia

The first ancestors of
Aboriginal Australians Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific ...
are believed to have arrived in Australia as early as 60,000 years ago, and evidence of
Aboriginal art Indigenous Australian art includes art made by Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous pe ...
in Australia can be traced back at least 30,000 years. Examples of ancient Aboriginal rock artworks can be found throughout the continent. Notable examples can be found in national parks, such as those of the
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
listed sites at
Uluru Uluru (; pjt, Uluṟu ), also known as Ayers Rock ( ) and officially gazetted A gazette is an official journal, a newspaper of record, or simply a newspaper. In English- and French-speaking countries, newspaper publishers have applied th ...

Uluru
and
Kakadu National Park Kakadu National Park is a protected area Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary ...
in the Northern Territory, and the
Gwion Gwion rock paintings The Gwion Gwion rock paintings, Gwoin figures, Kiro Kiro or Kujon (previously known as the Bradshaw rock paintings, Bradshaw rock art, Bradshaw figures and the Bradshaws) are one of the two major regional traditions of rock art found in the nort ...
in the
Kimberley region of Western Australia The Kimberley is the northernmost of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is bordered on the west by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Timor Sea, on the south by the Great Sandy Desert, Great Sandy and Tanami Desert, Tanami deserts ...
. Rock art can also be found within protected parks in urban areas such as
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a national park on the northern side of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. The park is north of the Sydney central business district and generally comprises the land east of the Highway 1 (New South Wales) ...

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
in Sydney. The
Sydney rock engravings Sydney rock engravings, or Sydney rock art, are a form of Australian Aboriginal rock art in the Sydney sandstone, sandstone around Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, that consist of carefully drawn images of people, animals, or symbols. Many tho ...
are approximately 5000 to 200 years old.
Murujuga Murujuga, usually known as the Burrup Peninsula, is in the Dampier Archipelago The Dampier Archipelago is a group of 42 islands near the town of Dampier in the Pilbara, Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States a ...
in Western Australia has the Friends of Australian Rock Art advocating its preservation, and the numerous engravings there were heritage listed in 2007. In terms of age and abundance, cave art in Australia is comparable to that of
Lascaux Lascaux ( , ; french: Grotte de Lascaux , "Lascaux Cave") is a network of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific respo ...

Lascaux
and
Altamira Altamira could mean any of the following: People *Altamira (surname) Places *Cave of Altamira, a cave in Cantabria, Spain famous for its paintings and carving *Altamira, Pará, a city in the Brazilian state of Pará *Altamira, Huila, a town and ...
in Europe, and Aboriginal art is believed to be the oldest continuing tradition of art in the world. There are three major regional styles: the geometric style found in Central Australia, Tasmania, the Kimberley and Victoria known for its concentric circles, arcs and dots; the simple figurative style found in
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
; the complex figurative style found in Arnhem Land which includes X-Ray art. These designs generally carry significance linked to the spirituality of the
Dreamtime The Dreaming, also referred to as Dreamtime, is a term devised by early anthropologists to refer to a religio-cultural worldview attributed to Australian Aboriginal mythology, Australian Aboriginal beliefs. It was originally used by Francis Ja ...
.
William Barak William Barak (or Beruk) (c. 1824 – 15 August 1903), was a traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam clan, first inhabitants of present-day Melbourne, Australia. He became an influential spokesman for Australian Aborigines, Ab ...
(c.1824-1903) was one of the last traditionally educated of the
Wurundjeri The Wurundjeri are an Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often ...
-willam, people who come from the district now incorporating the city of Melbourne. He remains notable for his artworks which recorded traditional Aboriginal ways for the education of Westerners (which remain on permanent exhibition at the
Ian Potter Centre The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is an art museum, art gallery that houses the Australian part of the art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is located at Federation Square in Melbourne ...

Ian Potter Centre
of the
National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private o ...
and at the
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest regional art gallery in Australia. Established in 1884 as the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery by the citizens of Ballarat, Victoria, Ballarat, both the building and part of its collection is liste ...

Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
).
Margaret Preston Margaret Rose Preston (29 April 1875 – 28 May 1963) was an Australian painter and printmaker who is regarded as one of Australia's leading modern art, modernists of the early 20th century. In her quest to foster an Australian "national art", ...
(1875–1963) was among the early non-indigenous painters to incorporate Aboriginal influences in her works.
Albert Namatjira Albert Namatjira (born Elea Namatjira; 28 July 1902 – 8 August 1959) was an Aboriginal artist from the MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioreg ...
(1902–1959) is a famous Australian artist and an Arrernte man. His landscapes inspired the
Hermannsburg School The Hermannsburg School is an art movement, or art style, which began at the Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, Hermannsburg Mission in the 1930s. The best known artist of the style is Albert Namatjira. The movement is characterised by watercolours ...
of art. The works of
Elizabeth Durack Elizabeth Durack Clancy CMG, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, OBE (6 July 1915 – 25 May 2000) was a Western Australian artist and writer. Early life Born in the Perth suburb of Claremont, Western Australia, Claremont on 6 July ...
are notable for their fusion of Western and indigenous influences. Since the 1970s, indigenous artists have employed the use of acrylic paints – with styles such as the
Western Desert Art Movement Papunya Tula, registered as Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd, is an artist cooperative formed in 1972 in Papunya, Northern Territory, owned and operated by Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal people from the Western Desert cultural bloc, Western Desert ...
becoming globally renowned 20th-century art movements. The
National Gallery of Australia The National Gallery of Australia (originally the Australian National Gallery) is the national art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might ...
exhibits a great many indigenous art works, including those of the
Torres Strait Islands The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands in the Torres Strait The Torres Strait (), also known as Zenadh Kes, is a strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connect ...
who are known for their traditional sculpture and headgear. The
Art Gallery of New South Wales Art is a diverse range of (products of) human behavior, human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what constitut ...
has an extensive collection of indigenous Australian art

In May 2011, the Director of the Place, Evolution, and Rock Art Heritage Unit (PERAHU) at
Griffith University Griffith University is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Common ...

Griffith University
, Paul Taçon, called for the creation of a national database for rock art. Paul Taçon launched the "Protect Australia’s Spirit" campaign in May 2011 with the highly regarded Australian actor Jack Thompson. This campaign aims to create the very first fully resourced national archive to bring together information about rock art sites, as well as planning for future rock art management and conservation. The National Rock Art Institute would bring together existing rock art expertise from
Griffith University Griffith University is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Common ...

Griffith University
,
Australian National University The Australian National University (ANU) is a national research university located in Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as t ...
, and the
University of Western Australia The University of Western Australia (UWA) is a public research university in the Australian state of Western Australia. The university's main campus is in Perth, the state capital, with a secondary campus in Albany, Western Australia, Albany an ...

University of Western Australia
if they were funded by philanthropists, big business and government.
Rock Art Research ''Rock Art Research'' is a biannual peer-reviewed academic journal covering rock art and other forms of paleoart. It is published by the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO) and the Australian Rock Art Research Association (A ...
is published twice a year and also covers international scholarship of rock art.


Early European depictions

The first artistic representations of the Australia scene by European artists were mainly
natural history Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecul ...

natural history
illustrations, depicting the distinctive flora and fauna of the land for scientific purposes, and the topography of the coast.
Sydney Parkinson Sydney Parkinson (c. 1745 – 26 January 1771) was a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland ...

Sydney Parkinson
, the
Botanical illustrator '' from Ferdinand Bauer's 1813 work '' Illustrationes Florae Novae Hollandiae'' A botanical illustrator is a person who paints, sketches or otherwise botanical illustration, illustrates botanical subjects. Typical illustrations are in watercolour, ...
on
James Cook Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milit ...

James Cook
's 1770 voyage that first charted the eastern coastline of Australia, made a large number of such drawings under the direction of naturalist
Joseph Banks Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, (19 June 1820) was an English Natural history, naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences. Banks made his name on the 1766 natural-history expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador. He took part in ...
. Many of these drawings were met with skepticism when taken back to Europe, for example claims that the
platypus The platypus (''Ornithorhynchus anatinus''), sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal Endemic (ecology), endemic to Eastern states of Australia, eastern Australia, ...

platypus
was a hoax. In the form of copies and reproductions,
George Stubbs George Stubbs (25 August 1724 – 10 July 1806) was an English people, English painter, best known for his paintings of horses. Self-trained, Stubbs learnt his skills independently from other great artists of the eighteenth century such as Jo ...
' 1772 paintings '' Portrait of a Large Dog'' and '' The Kongouro from New Holland''—depicting a dingo and kangaroo respectively—were the first images of Australian fauna to be widely disseminated in Britain.


British colonisation (1788–1850)

Early Western art in Australia, from British colonisation in 1788 onwards, is often narrated as the gradual shift from a European sense of light to an Australian one. The lighting in Australia is notably different from that of Europe, and early attempts at landscapes attempted to reflect this. It has also been one of transformation, where artistic ideas originating from beyond (primarily Europe) gained new meaning and purpose when transplanted into the new continent and the emerging society.''Art in Australia: From Colonization to Postmodernism.'' Christopher Allen (1997). Thames and Hudson, World of Art series. Despite Banks' suggestions, no professional natural-history artist sailed on the
First Fleet The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, ...
in 1788. Until the turn of the century all drawings made in the colony were crafted by soldiers, including British naval officers George Raper and John Hunter, and convict artists, including
Thomas Watling Thomas Watling (19 September 1762 - 1814?), was an early Australian painter and illustrator, notable for his natural history drawings and landscapes. Early life and education Born in Dumfries, Scotland, he was raised by his maiden aunt, Marion ...
.James Gleeson, Australian Painting. Edited by John Henshaw. 1971. However, many of these drawings are by unknown artists, most notably the Port Jackson Painter. Most are in the style of naval draughtsmanship, and cover natural history topics, specifically birds, and a few depict the infant colony itself. Several professional natural-history illustrators accompanied expeditions in the early 19th century, including
Ferdinand Bauer Ferdinand Lucas Bauer (20 January 1760 – 17 March 1826) was an Austrian botanical illustrator who travelled on Matthew Flinders' expedition to Australia. Biography Early life and career Bauer was born in Feldsberg in 1760, the youngest son of ...
, who travelled with
Matthew Flinders Captain (Royal Navy), Captain Matthew Flinders (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was a British navigator and cartographer who led the first littoral zone, inshore circumnavigate, circumnavigation of the landmass that is now known as Australia. ...

Matthew Flinders
, and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, who travelled with a French expedition led by
Nicolas Baudin Nicolas Thomas Baudin (; 17 February 1754 – 16 September 1803) was a France, French explorer, cartographer, naturalist and hydrographer. Biography Early career Born a commoner in Saint-Martin-de-Ré on the Île de Ré on 17 February 175 ...
. The first resident professional artist was
John Lewin John William Lewin (1770 – 27 August 1819) was an English-born artist active in Australia from 1800. The first professional artist of the colony of History of New South Wales, New South Wales, he illustrated the earliest volumes of Australian na ...
, who arrived in 1800 and published two volumes of natural history art. Ornithologist
John Gould John Gould FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Resources ...

John Gould
was renowned for his illustrations of the country's birds. In the late 19th century Harriet and
Helena Scott Helena "Nellie" Scott (1832 Sydney – 1910) was an Australian illustrator of natural history. She was also a botanical collector who collected a number of type specimens. She and her sister Harriet Morgan (1830–1907) were the daughters of ...
were highly respected natural history illustrators Lewin's ''Platypus'' (1808) represents the fine detail and scientific observation displayed by many of these early painters. As well as inspiration in natural history, there were some ethnographic portraiture of
Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific ...
s, particularly in the 1830s. Artists included
Augustus Earle Augustus Earle (1793–1838) was a British painter. Unlike earlier artists who worked outside Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geograp ...
in
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
and
Benjamin Duterrau Benjamin Duterrau (2 March 1768 – 11 July 1851) was an English painter, etcher, engraver, sculptor and art lecturer who emigrated to Tasmania. There he became known for his images of Indigenous people and Australian history paintings. Career ...
, Robert Hawker Dowling, Robert Dowling and the sculptor Benjamin Law (sculptor), Benjamin Law, recording images of Tasmanian Aborigines. The most significant landscape artist of this era was John Glover (artist), John Glover. Heavily influenced by 18th-century European landscape painters, such as Claude Lorraine and Salvator Rosa, his works captured the distinctive Australian features of open country, fallen logs, and blue hills.''Australian Painting: 1788–2000.'' Bernard Smith with Terry Smith and Christopher Heathcote (2001). Oxford University Press. Conrad Martens (1801–1878) worked from 1835 to 1878 as a professional artist, painting many landscapes and was commercially successful. His work has been regarded as softening the landscape to fit European sensibilities. His watercolour studies of Sydney Harbour are well regarded, and seen as introducing Romantic art#Romantic visual arts, Romantic ideals to his paintings. Martens is also remembered for accompanying scientist Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle (as had
Augustus Earle Augustus Earle (1793–1838) was a British painter. Unlike earlier artists who worked outside Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geograp ...
). Image:Thomas Watling - A Direct North General View of Sydney Cove, 1794.jpg, Thomas Watling, ''A Direct North General View of Sydney Cove'', 1794 Image:William Westall - View of Sir Edward Pellews Group, Gulph of Carpentaria, 1802.jpg, William Westall, ''View of Sir Edward Pellews Group, Gulph of Carpentaria'', 1802 File:Augustus Earle A bivouac of travellers in Australia.jpg, Augustus Earle, ''A bivouac of travellers in Australia in a cabbage-tree forest, day break'', 1838 Image:Conrad Martens - Campbells Wharf, 1857.jpg, Conrad Martens, ''Campbell's Wharf'', c. 1857


Gold rushes and expansion (1851–1885)

From 1851, the Victorian Gold Rush resulted in a huge influx of settlers and new wealth. S. T. Gill (1818–1880) documented life on the Australian gold fields, however the colonial art market primarily desired landscape paintings, which were commissioned by wealthy landowners or merchants wanting to record their material success. William Piguenit's (1836–1914) "Flood in the Darling" was acquired by the National Gallery of New South Wales in 1895.McCulloch, Alan McCulloch, Susan McCulloch & Emily McCulloch Childs: ''McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art'' Melbourne University Press, 2006 Some of the artists of note included Eugene von Guerard, Nicholas Chevalier, William Strutt, John Skinner Prout and Knud Bull. Louis Buvelot was a key figure in landscape painting in the later period. He was influenced by the Barbizon school painters, and so using a ''plein air'' technique, and a more domesticated and settled view of the land, in contrast to the emphasis on strangeness or danger prevalent in earlier painters. This approach, together with his extensive teaching influence, have led his to dubbed the "Father of Landscape Painting in Australia". A few attempts at art exhibitions were made in the 1840s, which attracted a number of artists but were commercial failures. By the 1850s, however, regular exhibitions became popular, with a variety of art types represented. The first of these exhibitions was in 1854 in Melbourne. An art museum, which eventually became the
National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private o ...
, was founded in 1861, and it began to collect Australian works as well as gathering a collection of European masters. Crucially, it also opened an Art School, important for the following generations of Australian-born and raised artists. Henry James Johnstone, H. J. Johnstone, a professional photographer and student of Buvelot, painted the large-scale bush scene ''Evening Shadows'' (1880), the first acquisition of the Art Gallery of South Australia and possibly Australia's most reproduced painting. Image:Robert Dowling - Group of natives of Tasmania - Google Art Project.jpg, Robert Dowling, ''Group of Natives of Tasmania'', 1860 Image:Nicholas Chevalier - Mount Arapiles and the Mitre Rock - Google Art Project.jpg, Nicholas Chevalier, ''Mount Arapiles and the Mitre Rock'', 1863 Image:William Strutt Black Thursday detail.jpg, William Strutt, ''Black Thursday bushfires, Black Thursday, February 6th'' (detail), 1864 Image:Louis Buvelot - Summer afternoon, Templestowe - Google Art Project.jpg, Louis Buvelot, ''Summer Afternoon, Templestowe'', 1866


Australian impressionists (1885–1900)

The origins of a distinctly Australian painting tradition is often associated with the
Heidelberg School The Heidelberg School was an Australian art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or de ...
of the late 19th century. Named after a camp Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton established in Heidelberg, Victoria, Heidelberg (then a rural suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne), these painters, together with Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder and others, began an impressionistic ''plein air'' approach to the Australian landscape that remains embedded in Australia's popular consciousness, both in and outside the art world. Many of their most famous works depict scenes of pastoral and outback Australia. Central themes of their art include manual labour, conquering the land, and an idealisation of the rural pioneer. By the 1890s most Australians were city-dwellers, as were the artists themselves, and a romantic view of pioneer life gave great power and popularity to images such as ''Shearing the Rams''. In this work Roberts uses formal composition and strong realism to dignify the shearers whilst the relative anonymity of the men and their subdued expressions, elevate their work as the real subject, rather that the specific individuals portrayed. In their portrayal of the nobility of rural life, the Heidelberg artists reveal their debt to Jean-François Millet, Millet, Bastien-Lepage and Courbet, but the techniques and aims of the French Impressionists provide more direct inspiration and influenced their actual practise. In their early and extremely influential 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, Exhibition of 9 by 5 Impressions of small sketches, their impressionistic programme was clear, as evidenced from their catalogue: ''"An effect is only momentary: so an impressionist tries to find his place... it has been the object of artists to render faithfully, and thus obtain first records of effects widely differing, and often of very fleeting character."'' Other significant painters associated with the Heidelberg painters were Walter Withers, who won the inaugural Wynne Prize in 1896,Alan McCulloch, Golden Age of Australian Painting: Impressionism and the Heidelberg School and Jane Sutherland, a student of McCubbin. Born and raised in Sydney, impressionist John Russell (Australian artist), John Russell spent much of his career in Europe, where he befriended the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. He also wrote letters home to his friend, Tom Roberts, updating him on developments in French impressionism. Image:Charles Conder - A holiday at Mentone - Google Art Project.jpg, Charles Conder, ''A holiday at Mentone'', 1888 Image:Down on his luck.jpg, Frederick McCubbin, ''Down on His Luck'', 1889 Image:Arthur Streeton - Golden summer, Eaglemont - Google Art Project.jpg, Arthur Streeton, ''Golden Summer, Eaglemont'', 1889 Image:Tom Roberts - Shearing the rams - Google Art Project.jpg, Tom Roberts, ''Shearing the Rams'', 1890


Federation era (1901–1914)

In 1901, the six self-governing Australian colonies Federation of Australia, federated to form a unified nation. Artists such as Hans Heysen and Elioth Gruner built on the Australian landscape tradition of the Heidelberg painters, creating grand, nationalist pastoral landscapes. Others moved on to successful careers in London and Paris, such as Rupert Bunny and Hugh Ramsay. Image:George W Lambert - Miss Thea Proctor - Google Art Project.jpg, George Washington Lambert, ''Thea Proctor, Miss Thea Proctor'', 1903 Image:Hugh Ramsay - The sisters - Google Art Project.jpg, Hugh Ramsay, ''The Sisters'', 1904 Image:Elioth Gruner - Spring frost - Google Art Project.jpg, Elioth Gruner, ''Spring Frost'', 1918 Image:Heysen Droving.jpg, Hans Heysen, ''Droving into the Light'', 1921


List of artists


Art museums and galleries in Australia


Institutions

Australia has major art museums and galleries subsidised by the national and state governments, as well as private art museums and small university and municipal galleries. The
National Gallery of Australia The National Gallery of Australia (originally the Australian National Gallery) is the national art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might ...
, the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art and the
Art Gallery of New South Wales Art is a diverse range of (products of) human behavior, human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what constitut ...
have major strengths in collecting the art of the Asia Pacific Region. Others include the
National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private o ...
in Melbourne, which has a significant Australian collection of Western art. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the privately owned Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania and White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney are widely regarded as autonomously discerning collections of international contemporary art. Other institutions include the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide, Newcastle Art Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery (Australia), National Portrait Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth. The State Library of New South Wales holds a significant collection comprising over
quarter of a million artworks
many from the Colonial period. More material is held by other National and State libraries.


Art market

The boom and bust cycle in contemporary art is evident in the 1980s colonial art boom ending at the time of the Black Monday (1987), 1987 stock market crash and the exit of many artists and dealers, followed by the 2000s boom in Aboriginal dot painting and Australian late modernist painting, which ended at the time of the global financial crisis and growing collector and public interest in the international contemporary art circuit. A 5% resale royalty scheme commenced in 2010 under which artists receive 5% of the sale price when eligible artworks are resold commercially for $1000 or more. Between 10 June 2010 and 15 May 2013, the scheme generated over $1.5 million in royalties for 610 artists. Some buyers object to paying any resale royalty while others do not mind a royalty going directly to the artists. However, they worry about further red tape and bureaucratic interference. In 2014/15 there was a rediscovery of colonial art at auction. Affordable 20th-century rural scene painting is buoyant. While the inflated northern hemisphere art markets had anticipating a massive correction in the Australian art market which transitioned to the middle market. Socially oriented art events such as art fairs and biennials have continued to grow in size and popularity in the contemporary art scene. The smaller commercial galleries have struggled to remain in business in the 2010s in spite of a functioning economy, although there is little consensus on the reasons for this. A new market has arisen in China, where Australian artists are selling works in a traditionally local market: "While the Chinese have always had a passion for traditional Chinese art, according to global auction house Sotheby's, the surging interest in contemporary international art is a recent trend." The market for Aboriginal art is still very strong, on the national and international stage, since becoming a solid financial investment in the 1980s. Not only do all the regional and State Galleries acquire significant collections of Aboriginal art, but private galleries are showing featured artists abroad. Aboriginal artists are also represented in all the major landscape prizes Australia. In 2019, "the Wynne prize, worth $50,000, was won by Sylvia Ken for her painting Seven Sisters – marking the fourth year in a row that the landscape prize has been won by Indigenous artists."


Australian visual arts in other countries

The museum for Australian Aboriginal art 'La grange' in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, was one of the few museums in Europe that dedicated itself entirely to Aboriginal art.


See also

* Arts in Australia * :Australian artist groups and collectives, Australian artist groups and collectives * Australiana * Australian Cartoonists' Association * Australian feminist art timeline * Photography in Australia


References


External links


National Association for the Visual Arts

Australian Commercial Galleries Association

Craft Australia's website



Design and Art Australia Online

Art Collector Magazine's Indigenous Art Centres Guide

The Australian Arts Community – A free community website for the arts in Australia

Art Prizes Australia, a free listing of Australian Art Prizes
{{DEFAULTSORT:Visual Arts Of Australia Australian art, Art by country, Australia