The idea of place is central to this exhibition, which explores how artists’ responses to different landscapes shaped the evolution of Impressionism in Australia. It is important to recognise that the visions of recently arrived artists were imposed over the culture, experiences and stories of First Nations peoples, whose deep connections to Country were disregarded.
She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism examines the multiple facets of Impressionism in Australia, from artists painting en plein air at Eaglemont and the groundbreaking 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, to those working in Europe at the turn of the century, inspired by James McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet. The exhibition includes major works drawn from public and private collections around Australia, including the NGV Collection.
New insight into this movement can be gained by examining the friendships, professional relationships and career-shaping moments of its most celebrated artists, including Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Frederick McCubbin, Clara Southern, E. Phillips Fox, Jane Sutherland, John Russell, Ethel Carrick and many others. Important works by lesser-known artists including Ina Gregory and May Vale are also brought to light.
She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism is guest curated by Dr Anne Gray AM with the NGV Australian Art department. The NGV is grateful to the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia and the many other lenders for their generosity and breadth of loans to this exhibition.