David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

15 October 2014

Critic Looks At Bendigo Gallery

These keywords that rhyme - Corot and Bendigo - produced from Trove this 1949 Arnold Shore review of the Bendigo Art Gallery and its collection.

Critic Looks At Bendigo Gallery - Much Good Art


Only a few years ago the Bendigo Art Gallery was stagnant, and lifeless - as lifeless as the "lovely corpse" in the one-time pride of the Gallery, "Too Late." "Too little (art) and Too Late,' " epitomised Bendigo's art range and standard.

Not so today. What other Australian Gallery except that of Melbourne itself can boast a large selection of works by celebrated 19th century French painters of the Barbizon school and others?

Bendigo owes this distinction to the generosity and public spirit of the late Dr J. A. N.Scott and Mrs Scott; but the Gallery authorities did not have this collection thrust upon them. They knew its value, and were proud to receive it.

Other Bendigo citizens are equally public minded and generous. The gallery will yet be able to administer some munificent bequests.

When these bequests become actualities, the beginning of a fine collection already evident will be supplemented in kind.

The French pictures now owned include two by Corot - one a typical example of his late popular period, and an earlier, mellow-toned study of farm buildings, sober yet fascinating. Dupre, Daubigny, Harpignies, Theodore Rousseau, and Jacques, are severally and interestingly represented.

Courbet - the French realist leader of the reaction from Classicism - is seen at a happy moment in "The Gorge" - a
rich study of green depths veiled in atmospheric charm.

LOUIS GABRIEL EUGENE ISABEY also deals with atmosphere and light, but he, with his picture of "Honfleur," shows that he prefers a polished academic technique which justifies for itself its own method.

In completely different mettier to Isabey is Alfred Sisley's French Impressionist" Canal Scene." Here is living, vibrant colour glorifying opaque paint quality. Art would be a sorry thing were there not room for both Isabey and Sisley.

A small work by Corot's contemporary Boudin, of whom Corot said "he is the prince of sky painters," must not be overlooked.

Turning to English art, it is pleasing to find three examples of Englishmen today - Graham Sutherland, Eric Ravilious, and Vivien Pitchforth - works presented to the gallery by the British War Artists' Advisory Council. These gifts, which the council have made so generously, and similar gifts to many Australian galleries, have been gratefully accepted. They should be equally gratefully followed up by some direct purchases of British artists' work. There are a few isolated specimens of the art of other overseas countries.

Fender Katsalidis Architects 

ART produced in Australia is in process of excellent representation. An historical section includes some very interesting pictures. Thomas Wright's "Sandhurst in 1862" worthily represents this artist, who was the first drawing master at Wesley College, Melbourne.

His picture is presented in tones of warm earth, pink buildings, and soft grey sky - all very harmonious and appealing.

Tom Humphrey, contemporary of Streeton and others, provides a bridge to understanding of the finer quality of these artists, as is evidenced by Streeton's "Manly Beach" sketch and Walter Withers' "Landscape and Cattle" - presented by the late Mr and Mrs J. T. Tweddle.

Portrait and genre Australian painting finds interesting expression with Hugh Ramsay's curiously suggestive of a monochromatic early Cezanne -"Portrait of a Man;" GeorgeCoates' accomplished portrait of "Jessica Strubble," and Mrs Muntz Adams' so sensitive "Portrait of a Lady."

The large picture of feminine graces and charms, by Rupert Bunny, plays a melody with varying reds set amongst lovely greens.

Coming nearer to the present age of experiment and daring in art, Dora Meeson's "LondonBridge" prepares the eye to appreciate both Douglas Watson's "Geraldton," rich in paint texture and low toned colour, and the completely antithetical "Careening Cove," brilliant alike in colour and technique, by Max Ragless.

A flower piece by A. M. E. Bale is surely one of her best. It is alive in colour and paint, while exhibiting full appreciation of the floral charm of mixed flowers.

Madge Freeman, too, is seen at her best in "Still Life." This is a fine composition, dignified, rich, and replete with meaning in its design other than that of a simple arrangement of so many recognisable objects.


Fender Katsalidis Architects 
VARIOUS other Australian painters - Charles Bush, Ernest Buckmaster, Amalle and Archibald Colquhoun, William Dargie, Harley Griffiths, Sali Herman, Harold Herbert, W. B. McInnes, Septimus Power, John Rowell, Francis Roy Thompson, and even myself, are represented, each in their own field of expression; and a watercolour section includes fine examples of the art of Daryl Lindsay, ARWS; Len Annois, Ralph Warner, Nornie Gude, and Enid Cambridge.

In this present-day revival of art interest, therefore, Bendigo is well to the fore.

Granted the mooted extension of the gallery itself, and the removal from the lawns of the two marble-frozen panders to salaciousness which, in their spurious pretence of female charm yet innocence, would have thoroughly annoyed D. H. Lawrence, the city will create a monument which will be a source of pilgrimage to future visitors to Australia and Bendigo.

Fender Katsalidis Architects 

The Argus (Melbourne, 1848 - 1957)
Saturday 17 December 1949

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ...