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W. Lister Lister (1859-1943)
The Breaking Wave 1901
oil on canvas
46.5 x 83 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1936
Sponsored by Karin Von Strokirch Group in 2015 for the Adopt An Artwork Program


Born 1859, Manly. Died 1943, Sydney.

William Lister Lister was taken to England as a child when his father returned to his native Yorkshire. He studied art in Bedford and then in France for two years before moving to Glasgow. He trained as mechanical engineer, and worked as a ship's engineer at sea.  At the age of 17 he exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1884 he went to London, where he began painting professionally as well as teaching. He returned to Sydney in 1888 and produced the seascapes and coastal scenes for which he is best known. He joined the Art Society (later Royal Art Society), exhibiting from 1899. In 1900 he was appointed a trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and served as vice-president from 1919–43. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times between 1898 and 1925. He was killed in a street accident in 1943.

'The Breaking Wave' is an unpeopled seascape. The only sign of human presence is a sail boat in the distance and the silhouette of a tall ship on the horizon. The lower half of the picture expertly depicts the movement of foam-capped waves rolling into shore over rocks. After it was donated by Howard Hinton, this picture was on display in the Library of the Armidale Teachers' College. There are four works by William Lister Lister in Hinton Collection.