Windsor, Victoria, Australia 1897 – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1963
Valley (Green landscape) c.1940 Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas
In Valley (Green landscape), Arnold Shore juxtaposed greens against yellows, browns and greys; he painted an image that vibrates with pure colour. It is a modest subject, a mass of trees, crossing the canvas like a barrier; but Shore treated it imaginatively and created a richly textured and expressive paint surface.
Shore studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne under Frederick McCubbin, while working as an apprentice stained-glass craftsman. He was also, for a short time, a pupil of Max Meldrum, but soon lost interest in that artist’s objective approach as it went against his impulsive nature. In 1932, Shore founded a school with George Bell, where the emphasis was on a more modern approach to art. Through his teaching, as well as through his work as a guide lecturer at the National Gallery of Victoria, and as art critic for the Argus 1951–56 and the Age 1957–63. Shore played an important role in establishing more enlightened attitudes to contemporary art.
Shore emphasised the vitality of the things he portrayed: flowers, gardens and the bush. He depicted scenes close to his home, including many images of bush glades that share a painterly energy with those of his teacher McCubbin (in works such as Winter sunlight) and with the 1960s landscapes of the younger Melbourne artist John Perceval. McCubbin, however, included narrative in his bush landscapes, while Perceval veered more towards the abstract, focusing on gesture and impasto. Shore, on the other hand, was motivated by the life force of the bush – the abundance and fertility of nature.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002