Detail photos for this Artwork
If ever there was an artist that created a visual iconography of the Australian landscape, it would be the great Sir Hans Heysen. Heysen’s watercolours with their clarity of light and softly rendered realism have immortalised the Australian light, the gum tree, the dry tones of the bush and our weather-worn landscapes.
The timeless appeal of Heysen’s landscapes lingers to this day with Australian collectors feeling a deep nostalgic and patriotic connection to his scenes.
Heysen was a phenomenally successful artist. He holds the record for winning the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting an impressive nine times.
His connection with the Flinders Ranges followed after the tragic and sudden death of his daughter Lilian in 1925. In search of a place that would bring him solace and reawaken his inspiration and love of nature, Heysen ventured into the far north of South Australia to discover the Flinders. From 1926 he visited the Flinders 11 times until 1949, producing drawings, watercolours and oils of the rugged scenery, mostly in the Aroona and Arkaba areas. He developed a deep connection to the area and considered his Flinders works to be among his finest paintings.
In the Flinders, Heysen changed his palette from the soft tonal colour of his idyllic rural landscapes from Hahndorf, to more highly contrasted hues that reflected the juxtaposition of stark forms and the sharper light in the harsh Flinders environment.
In “Flinders Ranges, South Australia”, Heysen uses a refined simplicity of form and striking contrast to deftly portray the dry environment. The deeper blues in the mountain range are set in strong contrast to the blindingly bright pale sky, portraying an ancient, weather-worn landscape and atmosphere that is undeniably Australian. In the foreground amongst the sand and rubble there are signs of life. A lone gum tree stands as guardian beside a creek bed where sheep come to drink.
Also of special note, is the beautiful presentation of this watercolour in a stunning, water-gilded gold frame, which adds another element of prestige to this collectable and classically beautiful painting.