Painters from all over the globe are inspired by Australia’s stunning landscapes. There are many inspirations for Australian artists, from Post-Impressionist paintings of the outback to abstract experiments using the landscape’s colours. Artists from all walks of the globe have been inspired by the diversity of Australian landscapes and the people who inhabit them. Below are a few examples of our favorites.
Johanna Hildebrandt – Olsen’s Direction I paintings are largely concerned with the industrial waterfront of Sydney. They are Australianist in nature and feature joyous icons, maps and beasts. His painting “Journey into the You Beaut Country”, a young painter in his thirties is one of the most recognizable and influential. He also painted portraits of artists who influenced his work.
Dobell – Dobell, despite his early career as an artist contemporary, remained more of a master than a modern painter. Although he was not very influential, he remained a strong force in the Australian arts scene. His paintings of businessmen, urban proletariat workers, and tough journalists reinforced the idea that Australia is a “man’s nation”. Donald Friend and other artists are also thought to have been largely uninformed about Western painting. However, their works are still highly regarded today.
Arthur Streeton is another example. He was only twenty-four when he completed Fire’s On. He was discovered by two Australian artists in Beaumaris scribbling on rocks. Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin invited him to join a painting camp. Charles Conder from Sydney joined the group, and the four formed the Heidelberg school of Australian art. These artists set the standard for all of Australia with their unique style.
Dobell is the most prominent of all the Australian painters. The symbol of life was the cruciform motif that a waterfall displays. It became an emblem of the nation’s religious beliefs. The landscape became a spiritual source for artists, rather than the glare-flooded landscapes in Sydney. In the process, the artists began to take the landscapes as their muse. It took a while before the paintings in the series that were exhibited in Australia became a distinct Australian art movement.
Through their paintings, Australian artists were able to reflect the political and socio-economic conditions of their country. They weren’t escapists; they reaffirmed the importance and value of painting. The first major Australian exhibition was held in Sydney. However, the Contemporary Art Society quickly moved the exhibitions to other cities. Many of these artists were European-born, or trained in Europe, so they were influenced greatly by the painting styles of their home countries.
Nolan’s iconic Kelly collection, which was first created in the late 40s and early 50s has been a major contribution to Australian art’s development in the 20th Century. Known for the lack of a back story in these works, the series was a response to the isolation of Melbourne and other Australian cities. Kelly’s iconic series was not the only work Nolan created. Nolan also created works that can be considered extensions of the Kelly series.
The Australian painters didn’t abandon their artistic values in the name of a more modern way to live. They were firm believers in the importance of painting but they did not lose sight of their nationalistic ideals. They wanted to set the standard for quality. They became more European-inspired than American and British counterparts. Their art was reflective of the diverse political and social circumstances of the day. They re-established the Australian art scene in the twentieth century, and the country grew richer in its culture.
The work of painters in Australia is so varied that the list is too lengthy to include them all. The country is diverse in its subject matter. The works of painters reflect their lives and those of their families. Marinka Parnham was Australia’s most prominent painter in 2004. She is a former teacher in art schools and has a background in textile design. Her work is contemporary and lively. She finds inspiration in landscapes, colour, flora. In her latest collection she incorporates the quintessential Australian natural beauty into bold pops.