McCubbin trio to go on show in Geelong

August 14, 2021 BY

Frederick McCubbin, "A bush burial" (1890), oil on canvas, Geelong Gallery, purchased by public subscription, 1900. Photo: ANDREW CURTIS

A trio of famous works by Australian artist Frederick McCubbin will be exhibited together in Geelong for the first time.

Geelong Gallery continues to celebrate its 125th anniversary with a program of exhibitions and events highlighting the institution’s significant contribution to the life and culture of the region, with centrepiece exhibition Frederick McCubbin - Whisperings in wattle boughs opening on September 4. The exhibition celebrates the first major work to enter the gallery collection in 1900 - McCubbin’s “A bush burial” (1890). That acquisition was made possible through public subscription, and this moment in the gallery’s and community’s history will be marked by exhibiting “A bush burial” alongside other famous McCubbin paintings, in which he redefines the Australian bush and the human subjects within it. Frederick McCubbin - Whisperings in wattle boughs brings together three of McCubbin’s key “pioneer” works, “Down on his luck” (1889, Art Gallery of Western Australia), “A bush burial” and “The pioneer” (1904, National Gallery of Victoria); the first time these works have been exhibited together in Geelong. The exhibition also includes significant works from public and private collections that reveal McCubbin’s enduring fascination with the colour and nature of the bush. [caption id="attachment_40655" align="alignleft" width="640"] Frederick McCubbin, "Down on his luck" (1889), oil on canvas, Art Gallery of Western Australia, State Art Collection, purchased 1896.[/caption] Its title acknowledges the inspiration McCubbin took from the poetry of Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833–1870), the unique beauty of the Australian bush and the rich stories that emerge from it . The intimately-scaled painting “Whisperings in wattle boughs” (1896, private collection), is named after a work by the widely admired Australian poet, dating to about 1867. “From iconic nationalistic statements and intimate compositions that draw the viewer into the dense bush setting, to later works in which the subject becomes as much the dappled light effects within the bush as the landscape itself, Frederick McCubbin - Whisperings in wattle boughs presents a tightly focused thematic exploration of the Australian bush as a key subject in the artist’s oeuvre, through paintings spanning almost three decades,” Geelong Gallery senior curator Lisa Sullivan said. Geelong Gallery director and chief executive officer Jason Smith said the coming exhibition followed two recent Geelong-curated scholarly and highly successful ticketed exhibitions, Land of the Golden Fleece - Arthur Streeton in the Western Districts and Fred Williams in the You Yangs. “The exhibition celebrates a picture in the collection that has become a nationally beloved icon by one of Australia’s most important and popular historical artists,” he said. Frederick McCubbin - Whisperings in wattle boughs will be exhibited alongside Exhume the grave - McCubbin and contemporary art, which opens on Saturday, August 14. This exhibition includes works by contemporary Australian artists in response to Frederick McCubbin’s enduringly popular narrative paintings set within the Australian bush. For more information about both exhibitions or to book tickets, head to the Geelong Gallery website.
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