Symbolist Spirit

17 Aug

Spirit of the Plains (1897)

A retrospective exhibition of one of Australia’s foremost Art Nouveau artists is on show at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Born in Goulburn in 1871, Long studied in Sydney before gaining prominence in the Symbolist movement in the late 19th century – creating haunting images of the Australian landscape, frequently featuring mythical creatures.

By Tranquil Waters (1894)

One of his works, By Tranquil Waters, depicting nude bathers, sparked particular controversy in 1894. “It caused a scandal,” recalls gallery curator Anne Gray, “because at that time you weren’t allowed to go nude bathing, and people were saying how dare the Art Gallery of New South Wales buy that painting with these wicked nude bathers.” Titled The Spirit of the Land, and featuring 115 of Long’s paintings, watercolours and paintings, the exhibition continues until 11 November.

The Blue Lagoon (1927)

The Valley (1898)

The Music Lesson (1904)

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