Sydney-born impressionist John Russell spent 40 years in Europe, where he established friendships with late 19th-century and early 20th centuries masters: Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh. While perfecting his technique in fin-de-siècle Europe, Russell stayed true to an Australian artistic sensibility that was at once colourful and defined by a love for nature (he spent half his European sojourn on a remote French island).
The works in the AGNSW presents the first major exhibition of Russell’s work in 40 years, bringing together 120 paintings, drawings and watercolours from art collections around globally.
Although Russell's more trademark works are those of the French coast painted in strong, deep blues, I preferred his figurative works completed in a warmer palette, such as Mrs Russell among the flowers in the garden of Goulphar, Belle-ile (1907) and Peonies and head of a woman (c1887), so much so, I may have to make a second visit! - and this time with my sketch book and picnic rug to capture those beautiful trees on my way to the gallery.
Exhibition Dates: 21 July - 11 November 2018. Art Gallery of New South Wales. www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/exhibitions/john-russell/