She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism is a large-scale exhibition of more than 250 artworks drawn from major public and private collections around Australia, including the NGV Collection. Featuring some of the most widely recognisable and celebrated works by Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Jane Sutherland, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Clara Southern, John Russell and E. Phillips Fox, the exhibition also brings to light lesser-known paintings by Iso Rae, May Vale, Jane Price and Ina Gregory. She-Oak and Sunlight presents these works in new and surprising contexts, exploring the impact of personal relationships, international influences and the importance of place on the trajectory of the movement.
Highlights from the exhibition include Tom Roberts’s iconic Shearing the rams, 1890, which depicts sheep shearers plying their trade in a timber shearing shed, and Clara Southern’s An old bee farm, Warrandyte, c.1900, a nostalgic vision of the landscape, painted in a soft palette of twilight tones. Following a complex conservation treatment, visitors are also able to appreciate the newly vivid colours of the Hawkesbury River as depicted in Arthur Streeton’s The purple noon’s transparent might, 1896.
She-Oak and Sunlight charts the creative exchanges between the movement’s leading figures in Australia, by presenting artworks in thought provoking groups and pairings. The exhibition also considers the broader global context, personal relationships and artistic synergies of Australian Impressionists and those working internationally, juxtaposing Australian artworks with those by Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and others drawn from the NGV Collection.
She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism is guest curated by Dr Anne Gray AM with the NGV Australian Art Department.