THE NGV IS OPEN AT NGV INTERNATIONAL AND THE IAN POTTER CENTRE: NGV AUSTRALIA, FED SQUARE.

Entry to NGV is free with booked session times at NGV International

Bookings are not required to visit NGV Australia.

Information for your visit

Information for school groups

Frederick McCubbin The pioneer 1904

Frederick McCUBBIN
The pioneer 1904

McCubbin’s monumental painting The pioneer reflects the self-conscious nationalism of the years immediately following Federation. Each panel is ‘read’ to link the progress of toil on this land across time. The first panel shows a pioneering couple in their new bush environment: the man is lighting a fire to boil the billy, while the woman contemplates their future life. The second panel shows the couple several years later: the woman holds a baby, land has been cleared and a small house has been built. In the final panel a bushman discovers a grave, and in the background a city begins to emerge. It is uncertain who has died and whether the male figure is the pioneer, his son or a stranger. By presenting his painting across three panels – the triptych format for traditional religious art – McCubbin elevated the status of the pioneer within Australian art history.