Detail photos for this Artwork
I’m delighted to offer this striking watercolour by the iconic landscape artist, Sir Hans Heysen OBE (1877-1968).
Works by Heysen are much loved and in strong demand, and I always enjoy the rare opportunity of offering one of his beautiful works for sale. The timeless appeal of Heysen’s landscapes lingers to this day. Collectors feel a deep nostalgic and patriotic connection to his classic scenes.
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 have immortalised the gum tree, the dry tones of the bush, and our weather-worn landscapes.
Heysen was phenomenally successful. He holds the record for winning the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting an impressive nine times.
Heysen’s 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 location and considered his Flinders works to be among his finest.
In the Flinders, Heysen changed his palette from the soft idyllic tones of his home and farms at Hahndorf, to more highly contrasted hues that reflected the juxtaposition of the stark forms and sharper light in the harsh Flinders environment.
The subject of this watercolour, Mount Patawarta, is located about 15 kilometres north of Blinman. This dramatic vista features in several of Heysen’s Flinders pieces. In “Mount Patawarta, Flinders Ranges, South Australia”, painted in 1932, Heysen portrays an ancient, weather-worn landscape and atmosphere that is undeniably Australian. He deftly draws us into the power of the scene by placing the commanding pyramid shape of Patawarta, devoid of vegetation, against a clear sky. The blues of Patawarta are set in strong contrast to the sandy tones of the surrounding landscape which is conveyed skilfully with a flowing, and almost hypnotic line and with deep purple toned shadows that portray the rugged forms of the foothills.
Of special significance to collectors in terms of the desirable provenance of this watercolour, is that the Art Gallery of South Australia holds in its collection a beautiful Heysen oil painting, “Patawarta: Land of the Oratunga”, which shows strong similarities in composition to this watercolour that I’m offering for sale. Additionally, the pencil study for the AGSA’s oil painting is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, and a beautiful Heysen charcoal drawing depicting Mount Patawarta is in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW.