Eugene Von GuÉrard: Fern Tree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges
16 December 2002 - March 2003
Centenary Galleries, Ground floor
To mark the National Gallery of Australia's 25th anniversary, the Art Gallery of Western Australia was home to a major painting by Eugene Von Guérard. The painting, Fern Tree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges, was on loan from the National Gallery of Australia and was presented alongside the Gallery's own Von Guérard work, Fern Tree Gully, Cape Otway Ranges. These paintings, both produced in the 1850's show Eugene Von Guérard's talent for meticulous accuracy and fine scientific detail of landscapes.
In its day this was the most celebrated of all Australian paintings. It was the subject of two unsuccessful public subscriptions: the first was to present it to Queen Victoria, the second was to keep the painting in Australia as the beginning of a national gallery. Von Guérard came to Australia in the 1850s seeking his fortune on the Victorian goldfields, but soon after set up a studio in Melbourne. He quickly established a reputation as the colony's best landscape artist, known both for his views of homesteads for wealthy patrons and for his scenes of untouched wilderness. Ferntree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges depicts the lush exotic vegetation and curious native creatures of the tree-fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges, 40 kilometres from Melbourne. The painting's contemporary appeal was no doubt due in some part to 'Fernmania', the fashion for all things fern-like that was sweeping through the colony.
The National Gallery tours Australia
To celebrate and mark the occasion of The National Gallery of Australia's twentieth anniversary, some of the National Gallery's most treasured works travelled to people throughout Australia. Works of such importance have not toured in this way since the exhibition series Genesis of a Gallery, which toured in the 1970s prior to the commissioning of the National Gallery building.
The magnificent works which toured to regional and metropolitan centres included: Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series, Claude Monet's Haystacks, Midday, Peter Paul Ruben's Self-portrait, Henri Matisse's The Abduction of Europa, Willem De Kooning's Woman V, Eugene von Guérard's North-east View from the Northern Top of Mount Kosciusko and Ferntree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges, Andy Warhol's Elvis and Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles.
The National Gallery tours Australia continued the National Gallery's ongoing commitment to providing access to its collections through its Partnership, Outward Loan and Travelling Exhibitions programs.