Australia 1899 – 1958
Road, Aldinga Hill
Willunga, South Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on board
Horace Trennery is regarded as one of South Australia’s finest Modernist artists. While he is relatively well known in his home state of South Australia, he deserves to be much more widely recognised. As a young artist, Trenerry was inspired by Elioth Gruner, whom he befriended on a brief visit to Sydney, and by fellow South Australian Hans Heysen. In June 1924, Trenerry was hailed in the local press as South Australia’s ‘most promising artist’. While his early work was popular, his vision and distinctive visual language emerged following a visit to the Flinders Ranges in 1930.
Trenerry’s move toward a more Modernist approach burgeoned in the 1930s. Another South Australian artist, Kathleen Sauerbier, who had experienced English and French Post-Impressionism and Modernism firsthand on her travels, introduced Trenerry to the Port Willunga and Aldinga area on the Fleurieu Peninsula, where he moved to around late 1934. It became his favourite place to paint, his spiritual artistic home. It was where he painted many of his most memorable works, including Road, Aldinga Hill.
In Road, Aldinga Hill, Trenerry positions the viewer looking down a hill and back up the road in the centre. He flattens the form of the road, tilting it up. The feeling of moving down and up is created by the fence posts at the side of the road and by the sketchy lines drawn with a brush. The precise placement of a red-orange roof at the top of the hill draws our eyes upwards. In the distance, the ranges are depicted in a narrow band—the horizontal counterpoint to the vertical road—stretching across the top of the painting, beyond the frame.
We are very grateful to members of the ‘Canberra Collective’ of the National Gallery’s Foundation for their generous support of this acquisition, one of the most significant works by Trenerry to become available in recent years.
Deborah Hart Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture post 1920
in artonview, issue 76, Summer 2013