Frederick McCUBBIN, The broken fence Enlarge 1 /1

Frederick McCUBBIN

Australia 1855 – 1917

The broken fence 1900-07 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas

Primary Insc: signed land dated ower right in brown oil, 'F. McCubbin / 1907'
Dimensions: 138.0 h x 168.0 w cm framed (overall) 1760 h x 2057 w x 85 d mm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1959
Accession No: NGA 59.1

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