Eugene von Guérard<br/>
North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko 1863<br/>
oil on canvas<br/>
66.5 x 116.8 cm<br/>
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra<br/>
Purchased 1973<br/>

Prep–Year 12

This education resource accompanies the exhibition Eugene von Guérard: Nature Revealed which presents a new perspective on the work of Eugene von Guérard, one of Australia’s most important landscape painters.  The exhibition argues that von Guérard’s travel to and within Australia was informed and inspired by his scientific interest in the geography, geology and vegetation of the Australian ‘new world’.

The resource provides background information on the artist, including biographical details and artistic influences, and highlights the artist’s adventurous spirit and his involvement with exploration and science.

A focus on Weatherboard Creek Falls, Jamieson’s Valley, New South Wales, 1862 and Mount Kosciusko, seen from the Victorian border (Mount Hope Ranges) 1866 includes discussion and analysis of these two key works, both of which are in the NGV Collection.  Learning activities include a range of questions and starting points for further exploring the work of von Guérard and can be adapted to suit the specific requirements of VELs and VCE Studies related to the visual arts and environmental education.

The Artist’s Name

Von Guérard was baptized Johann Joseph Eugen von Guérard. His christening cup, bearing the name Eugen von Guérard in gold lettering, records his parents’ intentions. In Australia von Guérard adapted his name, sometimes using the French form, Eugène, or the English, Eugene, while also continuing to sign works and his private correspondence, Eugen. He frequently used the French form of his surname, de Guérard rather than von Guérard; Alfred Howitt and Georg Neumayer both referred to their friend as de Guérard. The English, French and even Italian adaptations of his name reflect his own international origins and career.

As the focus of this publication, and the related exhibition, is von Guérard’s Australian career, it has been decided to adopt the form the artist most frequently used to sign his works and correspondence in the years between 1852 and 1882. The artist himself seems to have been relaxed about the form his name took.