Douglas Dundas (1900-1981)
En Plein Air (c.1930)
oil on canvas
69.5 x 77.2 cm
Gift of the Society of Artists 1939
Born 1900, Inverell, NSW. Died 1981, NSW.
Douglas Dundas spent his early years on his family’s property at Nullamanna near Inverell. After meeting Elioth Gruner in 1921 he moved to Sydney and enrolled in art classes at the Sydney Art School taught by Julian Ashton. In 1927 a Travelling Scholarship enabled him to visit England and Europe. Following his return to Australia, Dundas began an active career as an artist and teacher. He became a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a member of the Arts Council of Australia. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1943.
This painting depicts three clothed figures and a female life model. The male artist rests on a log, with painting equipment and picnic gear before him and one of the other two clothed females holds a sketching pad. The landscape stretches out behind them during sunset. Perhaps ironically, the artist has named this work En Plein Air, when the setting appears to be a studio set-up. The unsettling atmosphere is increased by the male gazing at the viewer rather than the model. The only variations to this painting's smooth texture are in the clouds at the top right and the hillside in the centre left. This work was presented by the artist to the Society of Artists under the terms of Dundas's 1927 Travelling Scholarship and was subsequently donated to the Armidale Teachers' College.