The dual sides of the Australian national character – a love of coastal living alongside our fascination with the country’s rugged heart – are reflected in a special National Gallery of Australia exhibition that will travel to all states and territories over the next 18 months. Ocean to Outback: Australian Landscape Painting 1850–1950 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the National Gallery.
The selection of works illustrates the most dynamic century of landscape painting from the colonial 1850s to the period following World War II. During this century landscape painting was the “great” subject of Australian art, a theme that reflected the changing nature of a nation’s identity. Landscape subjects also became popular with the general public as Australians began to visit their own museums and galleries to see images of their country.
The paintings are from the gallery’s permanent display; others restored and reframed in period style, a number of new acquisitions, and some works that have never been shown before.
Every Australian state and territory is represented through the works by iconic artists such as Arthur Boyd, Charles Conder, Russell Drysdale, Hans Heysen, Sidney Nolan, Margaret Preston and Arthur Streeton among others. The exhibition is part of an extensive program developed by the National Gallery to ensure that people across Australia have access to the treasures of the national collection. R.M.Williams is a major sponsor of the exhibition in keeping with the bush outfitters’ commitment to the people of the bush.

This story excerpt is from Issue #55

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2007