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Arthur Streeton (1867-1943)
Canal Scene, Venice 1926
oil on wood
12 x 21.7 cm
Bequest of Howard Hinton 1948

 

Born 1867, Duneed, Victoria. Died 1943, Dandenong Ranges, Victoria.

Sir Arthur Streeton was a founding member of the Heidelberg School of Australian Impressionists, and is considered one of Australia’s best known and influential landscape painters. His landscapes, pastoral scenes of bush life and portraits celebrated highly held values of resourcefulness, egalitarianism and freedom, giving them an important role in defining Australia’s national identity.

Streeton attended night classes at the National Gallery of Victoria School of Art from 1882 to 1887. In 1886 he met Tom Roberts who invited him to join a painting group which included Frederick McCubbin. In 1888, he occupied a farmhouse at Eagelmont near Heidelberg, where he and his friends, who now included Charles Conder, painted plein air, attempting to capture the unique beauty of the Australian landscape.

Streeton spent much of the early 20th century in Europe, where he served as an official war artist, and travelled widely during his life, exhibiting in London, New York and Canada.

Streeton first visited Venice on his honeymoon in April 1908. He returned later that year in September and again in 1909 and 1910. The many sketches, drawings and watercolours produced became reference material that he revisited years later as the basis for further work.  This work depicts the famous Rialto Bridge, one of the major tourist sites that spans the Grand Canal in the heart of the city.