Australia 1855 – 1917
The broken fence
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas
In the nineteenth century children were commonly dressed in red so that they could be easily spotted, particularly in the bush. The depiction of children lost in the bush became a preoccupation in Australian art and literature. Here the lone child, crouched low, absorbed in play, is at risk because of the broken boundary fence.
The predominantly grey-green palette and soft brush effects in The broken fence reflect McCubbin’s work of the early Federation years, with touches of brighter green characteristic of works painted after his only visit to Europe in 1907. On his return home McCubbin saw the landscape afresh, in the vivid colours of the Australian opal.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013
From: Miriam kelly, Capital & Country: The Federation Years 1900 – 1913, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013