The allure of the savage beauty of Belle-Île

 

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the fierce wildness and ‘savage beauty’ of Belle-Île, the small island off the coast of Quiberon in Brittany, France, exerted a powerful attraction to creative artists of a late-romantic temperament. Delve into why Belle-Île’s temperate climate, magnificent coastline, and 60 beaches became a magnet for Australian impressionist…

Ian Fairweather: Life lines

The QAGOMA Research Library holds a collection of letters, photographs and other memorabilia relating to the famously reclusive artist Ian Fairweather, who spent the last two decades of his life in a hut on Bribie Island. A new book Ian Fairweather: A Life in Letters from Text Publishing compiles several hundred of Fairweather’s letters, which…

Margaret Olley: A muse and artistic subject for others

Margaret Olley’s friendships with artists are chronicled in their pictures of her, such as William Dobell’s 1948 Archibald Prize–winning painting, works by Russell Drysdale and Jeffrey Smart and, much later, Ben Quilty’s 2011 Archibald Prize–winning portrait. No other subject has won the Archibald twice (self-portraits by Brett Whiteley and William Robinson aside), and the 63-year…

Portrait of Albert Namatjira

A conventional portrait — a seated half-figure painted from life — which is disrupted by the subject’s race. In mid-twentieth-century Australia, Indigenous people had rarely figured in a genre that confirmed the status of ‘elder statesman’ upon its (mainly male) subjects. William Dargie’s Portrait of Albert Namatjira 1956 has subsequently become the most identifiable image…

Ben Quilty’s ‘Sergeant P, after Afghanistan’ captures the sitter’s raw physicality

In October 2011, Ben Quilty toured with Australian troops as an official war artist for the Australian War Memorial, part of its scheme to document the experiences of Australians deployed to the frontline in Afghanistan. Quilty’s Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 is a brave attempt to capture the intensity of experience felt by soldiers involved…