Kenneth MACQUEEN, Clouds at Mt Emlyn Enlarge 1 /1

Kenneth MACQUEEN

Ballarat East, Victoria, Australia 1897 – Millmerran, Queensland, Australia 1960

  • England 1915-19

Clouds at Mt Emlyn 1935 Place made: Mt Emlyn, Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, painting in watercolour Support: off-white paper

Primary Insc: signed lower right within image in watercolour, 'KENNETH MACQUEEN'. titled upper centre verso in black pencil, 'Clouds at Mt Emlyn'. inscribed verso in black pencil, '18 gns'.
Tertiary Insc: inscribed verso in black pencil, '18 gns'.
Dimensions: image 38.6 h x 45.6 w cm sheet 38.6 h x 45.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased with the assistance of Philip Bacon, 2009
Accession No: NGA 2009.107
Image rights: © The Macqueen family
Provenance:
  • Purchased by the National Gallery of Australia, from Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, April 2009.

Landscape artists often need to travel to find their ideal locations to paint and draw, but for artist and agriculturalist Kenneth Macqueen, his subjects were located much closer to home. After moving to the Darling Downs region in south Queensland in 1922, its rolling hills and fertile soils became both his source of inspiration and income.

Macqueen managed a rural property at Mount Emlyn with his brother Jack, cultivating crops and livestock. He had returned to Australian three years earlier, having completed war service in France before undertaking studies at the Westminster Technical Institute and School of Fine Art and Slade School in London. During this period, Macqueen was introduced to the flattened tonal landscapes of nineteenth–century painter John Sell Cotman and to the energy and vigour of British Modernism with its repetition of patterns found in both nature and industry.

The farm would remain his home for the next 40 years, during which time he married the artist and illustrator Olive Crane and exhibited regularly through the Australian Watercolour Institute from 1928. His light–infused views of furrowed soil and ever–changing skies were produced after working in the fields each day. Clouds at Mt Emlyn 1935 is filled with a curve of cloud that loops across a quintessential Queensland sky, its shape mirrored in an arc of shadowed tones on the pastoral landscape below. Cotman’s influence can be seen in the contrasting interplay of light and dark, while Macqueen’s reputation as a leading Australian Modernist can be seen in his deft handling of the rippled cirrus clouds.

Macqueen enjoyed working as a farmer. He felt that it gave him a particularly close connection with the land, which he translated through his artist’s eye into luminous watercolours that reflect the cycles and seasons of the landscape.

Clouds at Mt Emlyn joins a growing number of works by Macqueen in the national collection, including other landscapes from around the Darling Downs (see artonview issue 50).

 

Sarina Noordhuis–Fairfax
Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings
in artonview, issue 59, spring 2009


in artonview, issue 59, spring 2009

Landscape artists often travel to find their ideal locations to paint and draw, but for artist and agriculturalist Kenneth Macqueen, his subjects were located much closer to home. After moving to the Darling Downs region in south Queensland in 1922, its rolling hills and fertile soils became both his source of inspiration and income.

Macqueen managed a rural property at Mount Emlyn with his brother Jack, cultivating crops and livestock. He had returned to Australian three years earlier, having completed war service in France before undertaking studies at Westminster Technical Institute and School of Fine Art and Slade School in London. During this period, Macqueen was introduced to the flattened tonal landscapes of nineteenth-century painter John Sell Cotman and to the energy and vigour of British Modernism, with its repetition of patterns found in nature and industry.

The farm would remain his home for the next 40 years, during which time he married the artist and illustrator Olive Crane and, from 1928, exhibited regularly through the Australian Watercolour Institute. His light-infused views of furrowed soil and ever-changing skies were produced after working in the fields each day. Clouds at Mt Emlyn shows a curve of cloud looping across a quintessential Queensland sky. Cotman’s influence can be seen in the contrasting interplay of light and dark, while Macqueen’s reputation as a leading Australian modernist is highlighted through his deft handling of rippled cirrus clouds.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014