Morning Break

Sir Hans Heysen

Hans Heysen Morning Break 1922
Morning Break by Sir Hans Heysen


Sir Hans Heysen
Morning Break
watercolour on paper
66 x 56 cm

signed lower right: HANS HEYSEN

copyright courtesy C. Heysen

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Fine Australian Paintings, Sotheby’s, Melbourne, 19 August 1991, lot 345

private collection, Melbourne

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 2003

private collection, Melbourne


The Seasons in Australian Art, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 20 Nov – 18 Dec 1999 and touring, cat. no. 39

Annual Collectors’ Exhibition 2003, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 6 Sep – 5 Oct 2003, cat. no. 11

Further Information

Hans Heysen was one of Australia’s foremost landscape painters in the period between the two world wars, depicting the landscape around Hahndorf and the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. He was championed by artists such as Lionel Lindsay describing him as Australia’s version of the Barbizon School, whose work Heysen had encountered in Paris during his schooling. In the work of Theodore Rousseau and others, he noted the pantheistic depiction of nature and the elevation of mood in painting through the use of light to transform natural elements, such as trees, to heroic proportions.

In Morning Break, we have Heysen’s well known motif of twin gum trees displayed against the sky, and everything in this watercolour exists to sing the nobility of the ghost gums. The morning light shining through the trees on the right hand side of the tree trunks may be adapted from the Barbizon School formula of contrasting the two trees, one is already in shadow while the other glows in regal glory. The diminutive horses and human figure serve to anchor the composition, however the true drama here is the giant ghost gum etched against the sky.”

Helen Topliss, 2003