instagram pinterest youtube facebook twitter


Australian art can be divided in 4 categories
You can discover
Australian Art (XVIIIe-XXe centuries)
The beginnings

Western Australian art was born in the 18th century, with the Royal Marine drawers who, on disembarking on the south coast of the country, were fascinated by the inhabitants of a land everybody thought to be deserted then, with its strange fauna and flora and with its grand landscapes, which they made documentary drawings of, to begin with.
A colonial art

Very soon, professional painters settled in Australia, such as Thomas Watling in 1792, or John William Lewin in 1800. They had been educated in European workshops and offered an idealized vision of this "exotic" country, depicted after the neoclassical, then romantic, canons in fashion in Great-Britain. With portraitists such as Augustus Earle, who had arrived in 1825, they initiated a movement that could be called colonial, because for its followers, Australia is not a true mother country yet. Still, this painting movement met with increasing success throughout the 19th century.
Thomas Watling
The Heidelberg School

It was with the Heidelberg School (after the name of a town near Melbourne) that, in the 1880's, Australian painting acquired a specificity which had already been reached in decorative arts since the middle of the 19th century (in silverware for example). A group of painters influenced by impressionism (Tom Roberts, Charles Edward Conder, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton) wanted to show life in the bush, that is to say in a vast territory with frontiers forever receding, bathed in a peculiarly intense light.
The international emergence of western Australian art

From that time onwards, the history of western Australian art became that of original personalities, whose works were more jarring: Albert Tucker, between the two world wars, and from the 1940's, Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992), or Arthur Boyd (1920-1999). These works enabled this art "from the Antipodes"(after the name of a school of figurative painting of the 1960's, which had become synonymous with Australian art) to gain international reputation, due to the inventiveness and the diversity of its contemporary modes of expression (sculptures, installations, primitive art, use of recycled industrial materials).
Contemporary Non-Indigenous Australian Art

Wilma Tabacco

"Scarlet Starlets"
Artists from all origins

From the 1970's, western Australian art became more and more international and grew richer thanks to the permanent dialogue between painters and sculptors with the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, while the tradition of study trips persists in Europe, Australia is a chosen destination for artists who no longer come from the sole Anglo-Saxon community – such as Helen Kennedy or John Olsen – but also from the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern world – such as Wilma Tabacco, born in Italy, and Hossein Valamanesh, whose painting creates a dialogue between traditional Persian art and modern inspiration.

Dean Bowen

"Mr Eyebrows"

Christopher Croft

"Red Tailed phascogole dreaming"
A varied inspiration

To this human and cultural richness corresponds an extraordinary diversity:
- of inspiration: international or more local, as for Dean Bowen, who resorts to Australian everyday life, history and culture in his engraving and sculptures, as those representing bushmen or the soldiers who went and fought in France during the First World War.
- of styles: figurative – as in Christopher Croft, who is reviving the portrait tradition – or abstract – as in Ann Thompson, who uses the letters printed on boxes of Australian wool bales in her energetic painting.
- of artistic languages: whether they follow the western tradition of frontal vision or borrow from Aboriginal art the satellite vision – like Christopher Hodges, who resorts to the Aboriginal symbolic concentric circles.
However, all these tendencies meet in a high care for color, light and more generally for the environment inherited from the already old Australian artistic tradition. Landscapes, objects, people are therefore represented with a combination of seriousness and humor, the best example of which can be found in Christopher Croft's works, hanging between hyper- and sur-realism to evoke the western way of life in a very humorous fashion.


"Continuum" 71
Artistic practices are numerous and complementary

Australian artists are interested in every technique, without excluding or favoring any, and use the one or the other according to their inspiration: painting, sculpture and tapestry work (Dean Bowen); painting and ceramics (William Robinson); painting and sculpture (Ann Thompson). Working with all sorts of supports (canvas, wood, or even plastic as Matthew Johnson, who utilizes CD boxes) and materials, sometimes the reprocessed scraps of our industrial civilization (see the Schweppes boxes used by Rosalie Gascoigne), western Australian artists are open to all the contemporary modes of artistic expression. Some of them even create installations, as Fiona Mac Donald and her Sea of Hands, a many-colored set of plastic hands, planted in the desert by the artist, in support of the Aboriginals deprived of their lands. This art, very much aware of all international trends, is not, therefore, cut off from the Australian reality, so much so that one can see in western and Aboriginal arts the two sides of the same contemporary Australian art.
  Some references:
Musée du Quai Branly, Musée des Confluences à Lyon, Musée d'Art Contemporain les Abattoirs à Toulouse, Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Asie de Vichy, Musée de la Musique, Museum d'histoire naturelle de Lille, Musée de Rochefort, Fondation Electricité de France, Fondation Colas, Banque Dexia ...

We are members of the Chambre Nationale des Experts Spécialisés en Objets d'Art et de Collection (C.N.E.S.)*
We are members of the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d'Art
*National French Chamber of experts specialized in artworks
Comité des Galeries d'Art