Ernest Buckmaster (1897-1968)
Rhododendrons 1930
oil on canvas
71.7 x 61.2 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1933


Born 1897, Hawthorn, Victoria. Died 1968, Warrandyte, Victoria.

Ernest Buckmaster studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne. He disliked modernism and remained a traditional painter throughout his life. He exhibited regularly and his work became widely popular in Australia and New Zealand. His work included landscapes, still life and portraits. In 1932 he won the Archibald Prize for portraiture.

This work, 'Rhododendrons', was exhibited at Anthony Horderns Department Store Gallery in July 1933, in the Victorian artist's first one-man show in Sydney. In a dramatic contrast of light and dark, Buckmaster has painted three blooms of rhododendrons in a glass vase. Is the fallen petal and empty wine glass symbolic of death?