MARIAN ELLIS ROWAN – Blue Flowers

MARIAN ELLIS ROWAN exhibition continues through September.

Marian Ellis Rowan (1848 – 1922) was a remarkable woman, who blurred the lines between fine art and natural history illustration with artworks characterised not only by their detailed accuracy but also her own compositional charm and touches of dramatic interest, such as the inclusion of insects, adding more life, narrative interest and sense of scale.

This artwork (Blue Flowers, possibly Scaevola Basedowii) is indicative of her passion for depicting the flora of Western Australia, where she visited in 1880 and again in 1906. Scaevola derive from the hot and arid outback and is also known as the fan flower due to its petals. Ellis Rowan tended to use coloured paper for her artworks and this more centrally placed display of the spidery network of branches juxtaposed with the delicate small blue flowers, suggests it is from earlier in her career, coinciding with her visits to WA.

This celebrated and prolific artist with her reputation for painting wildflowers is represented in many public collections including significant holdings at:

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
National Herbarium, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
National Library of Australia
National Trust of Australia
Queensland Museum
Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art
Royal Botanic Gardens, Adelaide

With thanks to the staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne for expert advice regarding identification.

Read further here

(Blue Flowers, possibly Scaevola Basedowii)
gouache on paper, 53 x 36 cm

MARIAN ELLIS ROWAN August – September 2021

Exhibition Online

Marian Ellis Rowan (1848 – 1922) was a remarkable woman who travelled around the world to capture exotic flora in her elegant paintings. First inspired by the gardens of her youth at Mount Macedon, Victoria and family connections to government botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, she became a celebrated artist known for depicting wildflowers and birdlife, recording numerous botanical species throughout remote Australia; New Zealand; the United Kingdom; the United States of America and Papua New Guinea.

This exhibition is a small representation of Rowan’s extensive work and is indicative of her broad travels and includes a fully illustrated flipbook catalogue with accompanying essay.

Eclectus Parrot (Male),
watercolour & gouache on paper, 22.5cm diam.

This celebrated and prolific artist with her reputation for painting wildflowers is represented in many public collections including significant holdings at the National Library of Australia and the Queensland Museum; as well as the National Gallery of Australia; the National Gallery of Victoria; the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; the Art Gallery of Western Australia; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Adelaide; the National Herbarium, Melbourne; the National Trust of Australia; the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. 

With thanks to the staff at the National Herbarium, Melbourne for their expert advice regarding identification of selected artworks.

The Sheltered Nest (detail)
watercolour and gouache on paper, 52.5 x 27 cm

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In The Spotlight…Robert Dickerson

ROBERT DICKERSON 1924 – 2015Landscape with Figures 1946
enamel paint on composition board, 76 x 91 cm, signed lower right: Dickerson 11/10/46

Provenance:
Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
Lauraine Diggins Gallery, Melbourne
David Bremer, Melbourne
Deutscher Fine Art, Carlton
John and Marita McIntosh, Melbourne
The Collection of John and Marita McIntosh, Mossgreen, Melbourne, 15 October 2013, lot 11 as Landscape with Figures
Private collection, Melbourne

Welcome to IN THE SPOTLIGHT, where we continue to focus on artworks from our stockroom and provide some context around the work and its artist.

Robert Dickerson was self-taught as an artist, visiting the National Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Museum as a boy, closely examining different artists’ techniques. At around 14 years of age, he worked as a factory worker and trained as a boxer, becoming a professional fighter at 15. He enlisted, aged 18, and served in the Royal Australian Air Force. Whilst waiting to be demobilized at the end of the Second World War, he drew and painted East Indian children in Morotai (a Dutch Island in the East Indies, now Malaysia). On Dickerson’s return to Australia, he began to paint, working with a limited palette and often using enamel on cardboard. Landscape with Figures was painted soon after Dickerson’s return, undertaken as an exercise in painting, and a continuation of his exploration of figures while utilising enamel. He held is first exhibition at Blaxland Gallery, Sydney in 1949. His reputation as an artist was established during the 1950s with the support of John Reed and of Rudy Komon, with whom he exhibited from 1959. He participated in the Antipodean exhibition in Melbourne in August 1959, the only Sydney artist. His figurative work portrays individuals in both urban and rural settings with an overriding emotional mood and psychological insight, all conveyed in Dickerson’s unique and recognisable visual language, one he continued with throughout his artistic practice, which lasted right up until his death, aged 91.
 
“Waiting many months in the islands to be demobbed after the war was over could have been a time of great tedium. But the Services library had given Bob a novel by Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, and he realized that Gauguin chose a South Sea Island for a very good reason: there was no shortage of models. Bob began to draw and paint the children of Morotai. ‘They used to pose for me and sit playing while I drew them.’ In an interview with The Australian in 1969 he told Laurie Thomas he was moved to paint these East Indian children. ‘They used to come and clean up the tent for us, and climb up to get coconuts. They were so undernourished, thin and with that intensity that children have. I felt a great sympathy for these young kids – to see the way their parents were content with this primitive punched-around living. The children were anxious to evolve but nobody was helping them. They even taught us to speak Indonesian – pidgin Malay – and we taught them to speak English. That feeling about kids persisted in my work because I felt strongly about the children of the whole bloody world as a matter of fact, not the fat complacent little creeps, but the hungry ones.’ Bob thinks most of these paintings were lost in the jungle or given away. ‘I didn’t bring back any of these drawings or paintings, because it’s not easy to carry artworks in a kitbag.’ 

Jenny Dickerson, 
Robert Dickerson: Against the Tide, Pandanus Press, 1994, pp32-33


Robert Dickerson is widely recognised in innumerable private, corporate and major Australian public institutional collections including:

National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Art Gallery of NSW
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Art Gallery WA
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery
Art Gallery Ballarat
Newcastle Art Gallery
Australian National University
Holmes à Court Collection 

Further information:
Robert Dickerson – Landscape with Figures
Read other articles – In The Spotlight

In The Spotlight…Charles Conder

CHARLES CONDER, Miss Raynor c.1889, 
oil on canvas on cardboard, 16 x 16 cm

This small, rapidly painted sketch belongs to Conder’s Melbourne years (1888-90) and is typical of his en plein air style. This was a style, developed in the ateliers of Paris and in the summer painting ‘camps’ of rural France in the 1870s that involved the artist capturing and holding the essence of the moment and the scene as he or she stood in front of it. The first marks put onto the canvas were to be the only ones: nothing was to be altered or worked over later, back in the studio. The heart of plein air painting was truth to the moment of vision. Stylistically it was characterised by clarity of vision, an understanding of technique and  poetic response to the moment.

Subject is thus everything and nothing. Miss Raynor, the principal female figure in this sketch is essential for the articulation of the work but only as a form to set against other forms – the heavy cypress tree behind her, the post and rail fence, the smoothness of the gold greens and brown of the paddock in which she stands. Her everyday dress adds to the prosaic note of the sketch, the drab attire enlivened by a few touches of red on the unfurled umbrella at her side.  Behind her stands a second female form, painted even more ethereally in relation to the raking light that falls from left to right across the picture plane and is even less identifiable.

‘Mrs (sic) Raynor was a student friend of Conder and was sketched by him during a picnic outing in Melbourne during his stay there (1889)’. She seems to have modelled for Conder on other occasions. Another study of her, an oil on cedar panel, in which she wears a  rather more elaborate costume and is seated on a river bank, is to be found in the Joseph Brown Collection.

                    Ann Galbally, 
Extract LDFA Annual Collectors’ Exhibition Catalogue 2000

Charles Conder is acknowledged as one of Australia’s most talented artists and is widely recognised in collections by all major Australian public galleries as well as international public galleries. 

Further information:
Charles Conder, Miss Raynor
Charles Conder, Biography
Charles Conder, artworks in the stockroom

Read other – In The Spotlight

A Closer Look At… John Dent large-scale paintings

This is the final week to view our current exhibition John Dent: Between Two Countries and we invite you to take A Closer Look At… John Dent’s larger paintings in the exhibition.

The subject matter of the larger paintings crosses a broad range: landscapes; interiors; figures; still lifes – all themes with a long tradition in the history of art. Dent takes inspiration from his own experiences, from the mundane of a Hills Hoist in the backyard of an inner city Melbourne suburb; to the more exotic, a studio in Mallorca; to the macabre, the soft colour palette of the seminal triptych, Natura Morta- Marta belies the rather uncompromising subject. Dent is able to raise elements from their everyday existence to the distinction of art, particularly highlighted in these paintings where familiar objects are lifted through their presentation on a grand scale. However the real subject matter is often the very act of painting itself, the placement of elements, of form and colour on the canvas. 

To tak A Closer Look At… John Dent’s larger-scale paintings, please click here.

Exhibition showing until Friday 25 June. Visit our website to view images, watch a video of the opening, download the catalogue and read the Closer Look At… essay.

A Closer Look At… John Dent in Paris

In our next A Closer Look At… we examine the paintings of Paris by John Dent which are redolent with atmosphere, indicative of his ability to absorb the sense of place he discovered there. Mostly, these are quiet introspective moments, a captured snapshot in time. The street scenes take the viewer on a promenade with the artist around Paris, as he explores the city. If the imagery is sometimes romantic, it is because this reflects the everyday reality of the city and these are scenes actually encountered – an arched bridge over the river; a flag hanging from a terraced building; lovers entwined in a park. Equally, Paris is a city of unexpected surprises and strange contrasts, casual witness to nuns in full habit kicking a soccer ball. At other times the subject is almost mundane, a woman with a striped apron in her window; or tinged with humour, the upright nanny on duty with her sensible umbrella shading her from the sun contrasted with the lounging figure enjoying a drink on the deckchair.


John Dent Les Bénédictines du Sacré-Coeur oil on canvas 71 x 56 cm

The significance of Paris and its art scene has been a major influence for many artists throughout history and has certainly shaped Dent’s oeuvre, evident in many aspects but essentially in the very real French atmosphere captured in these paintings. To take A Closer Look At… John Dent in Paris click here


John Dent The Nanny oil on canvas 40.5 x 35.5 cm

To view images in the exhibition; watch the video of the opening and read our Closer Look At… essays please visit our website.

RECONCILIATION WEEK

As RECONCILIATION WEEK draws to a close I enjoyed watching the AFL match last night for the Dreamtime Round. It’s great to see indigenous recognition and reconciliation in all forms and in many industries. 

This years theme is MORE THAN A WORD, RECONCILIATION TAKES ACTION, urging the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

At Lauraine Diggins Fine Art we have been welcomed into the artistic community at Utopia. As strong supporters of the artists from this beautiful area, Lauraine and Gallery staff have travelled often to spend time working with Emily Kam Kngwarray, the Ngal sisters (Kathleen, Poly and Angelina – and extended family) from Camel Camp; Cowboy Loy Pwerl, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray and Genevieve Kemarr Loy from Iylenty (Mosquito Bore); and with the Morton sisters from Rocket Range. We have benefited from the generosity of the community and learnt about and participated in cultural activities of the community.

The Gallery actively promotes the artists of Utopia, who in connection to their land share their cultural knowledge and stories with the wider world through their art. 

Gaining appreciation for and recognizing the importance of Indigenous art promotes Indigenous people and their culture and is part of the process of building stronger relationships as a Nation.

In her landmark 1989 Indigenous catalogue Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art: A Myriad of Dreaming Lauraine introduced artists of the calibre of Rover Thomas and Lin Onus. The Gallery further brought artists to international attention through art fairs in Paris and Moscow; participated in collaborative exhibitions both in Australia and worldwide, in particular taking Emily to exhibit in Hong Kong and China at the legendary China Club, Hong Kong in the early 1990s; and showcased Emily’s monumental Earths Creation in a stunning 1998 exhibition Earth’s Creation: The Paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye; the Gallery further brought gallery represented indigenous artists and their art to recognition at art prizes in which Angelina, Kathleen and Elizabeth have been finalists in the Wynne Art Prize; Cowboy and Genevieve in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize; Elizabeth and Genevieve in the Churchie Emerging Art Prize; Angelina, Cowboy, Elizabeth and Genevieve in the Blake Art Prize; Elizabeth and Genevieve in the The Alice Prize; Genevieve in the Fleurieu, among others. Lauraine was instrumental in the international fashion house Hermès commissioning Gloria Petyarr to create a design for their famous scarves.

The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, is an annual prize that was launched in 2017 to advance art and opportunity for emerging and established female artists in Australia. It is the highest value professional artist prize for women in Australia and Genevieve succeeded in being a finalist in 2020.
As stated on their website, although up to 70% of art school graduates are female, less than half of represented artists in exhibitions and prizes around Australia are female, with State museums showing 34% of female artists amongst their collections. This is something many galleries are continuing to address. The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize provides a platform to promote female visual artists, assisting in career development, providing opportunities for greater connections.


Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy AO
to Genevieve Kemarr Loy and Lorraine Kabbindi White
at the Next Generation exhibition 2017

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art continues to commit support by profiling Indigenous artists and their art, support accountability towards Indigenous people and the ethical sale of art. We further achieve this as members of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia.
If you would like to take a step towards reconciliation, visit an Indigenous art exhibition, or have a look at these suggestions by Reconciliation Australia https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/actions-for-reconciliation/

A Closer Look At… John Dent Still Life Paintings

In our series of A Closer Look At… essays, we examine an aspect of current exhibited artworks. In the first of these for John Dent: Between Two Countries, we further consider the intriguing still life paintings where a range of commonplace objects are carefully placed in juxtaposition to each other and the space between them, to hint at a narrative beyond the ordinary.

These are elegant paintings, where every object has been deliberately considered and heightened by the use of texture and skilful use of colour, which is both rich yet subtle. In his opening remarks, LDFA Director Michael Blanche referred to Dent’s still paintings as “semi-abstracted displaced objects”, seeing links to artists including Giorgio Morandi; Lucio Fontana; Pierre Bonnard; Edouard Vuillard and to one of John’s key mentors, George Baldessin.

Take A Closer Look At… John Dent Still Life Paintings here, particularly, whilst the Gallery is closed due to current Victorian Covid restrictions. Images can also be viewed online and please contact us via email with any queries ausart@diggins.com.au. The exhibition has been extended to 25th June and we hope to welcome you soon (at this stage from 11 June).

JOHN DENT : Exhibition Opening at LDFA Sat 15 May 2021 at 2pm

John Dent: Between Two Countries featuring 50 paintings from the earlier years of his ongoing career, painted in both Australia and France. A rare opportunity to view the collection together on a scale not seen since Dent’s retrospective at Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1994. Subjects range from intriguing and elegant still lifes; atmospheric interiors and figurative works; and streetscapes of Paris, with its everyday realities and unexpected surprises. A range of subjects and scales but unmistakably Dent’s lyrical and complex compositions and multifaceted muted colour palette.

The exhibition is showing until 11 June and a colour illustrated catalogue can be downloaded from our website.

PETER CHURCHER: THE FIRST DECADE

Join us in the exhibitions final week, where you have a rare opportunity to view and purchase a selection of artworks from Churcher’s impressive first decade of his career, which examines the beginning and following the growth and establishment of his career as an artist. Churcher’s artistic concern from the outset was the human figure and the human condition. Churcher’s paintings are a faithful representation of their subject. There is an element of truth-seeking and honesty. A rawness in using people he simply met in the street rather than professional models strengthened this element and appealed to an artist schooled in the European masters in the tradition of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velazquez and Van Gogh who also elevated ordinary people and objects as art.