Sydney Long, or “Sid” as he was known in art circles, was born in Goulburn, New South Wales on 20 August, 1871. He was known as a painter, etcher and teacher.
Sid Long studied at the Art Society of New South Wales (later called the Royal Art Society) School in Sydney, under Julian Ashton, A. J. Daplyn and Frank Mahony from about 1892 to 1896. In the 1890’s Sid Long shared a studio with George Lambert and was also a close associate of Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts.
He was president of the New South Wales Society of Artists from 1898 to 1901 and became a Director of the Art Society’s School and then became a partner in the Julian Ashton School from 1907 to 1910.
From 1910, Sid Long spent 11 years in England. Shortly after his arrival in the UK, he married Katherine Brennan, a dancer at Covent Garden. Whilst in the UK, he mastered etching after studying the technique at the London Central School. He became a member of the Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, becoming an associate in 1920. In the same year, Long studied in London under Malcolm Osborne. In London he was also a foundation member and first secretary for the Society of Graphic Art. He also augmented his income as an artist by acting as a buying agent for the Sydney art dealer, Adolph Albers.
From 1913 he exhibited regularly at the Royal Show in Sydney and began to produce a number of etchings. In 1913 he also visited the medieval city of Bruges, where his paintings flourished under the stimulus of a new environment. Sydney Long returned to Australia in 1921 and continued to make occasional trips to Paris. He left for England again in 1922 and returned home to Australia in 1925. After his return, Sid Long went on to become a leading figure in the Australian art world, particularly in the field of etching. He painted and etched pastoral subjects, romanticising and stylising Australian bush subjects, to which he introduced the decorative forms of fauns and other mythical creatures, as well as birds and foliage borrowed from the European Art Nouveau movement.
During his career, Sid Long took an active involvement in several art societies and organisations, including his presidency of the newly formed Australian Painter-Etchers’ Society. He also became a Director of this society’s school. Long also became a member of the Australian Painter-Etchers’ Society in Sydney; a director of the Royal Art Society’s School in Sydney and a member of the board of trustees at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1933 to 1949.
In 1938 and 1940, Sid Long won the prestigious Wynne Prize, an annual award judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is given to an Australian artist for an Australian landscape painting in oil or watercolour or for a figure sculpture. The value of the award in 1997 was $10,000.
In 1952, Sid Long left Australia for the last time with his wife and he died in London on 23 January, 1955. Sid Long has work represented at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, most State and regional collections, as well as in collections in New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
“Australian Watercolour Painters 1780-1980”, Jean Campbell, Rigby, 1983
“The Encyclopaedia of Australian Art”, Alan McCulloch & Susan McCulloch, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1994