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Hamburg, Germany 1877 – Mt Barker, South Australia, Australia 1968

  • Australia from 1884
  • Europe, England 1899-1903


1925 Place made: Hahndorf, South Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, watercolour on paper
Dimensions: 39.3 h x 49.2 w cm Frame 62.0 h x 70.0 w x 4.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: private collection

More detail

The Members Acquisition Fund has been set up in response to the many members who have expressed interest in contributing more directly to the purchase of works of art for the national art collection.

We invite every member to contribute to the second work to be supported by this exciting acquisitions initiative: Hans Heysen’s watercolour Spring 1925

Heysen is one of Australia’s most loved artists and is best known for his iconic oil paintings of monumental gum trees and the dry sculptural landscapes of the Flinders Ranges. Heysen’s works in oil and watercolour were pivotal to the development of Australian landscape art in the early twentieth century. Heysen also painted more personal subjects, and Spring is an image full of charm and intimacy.

Spring is one of Heysen’s most intimate and domestic images. It is a simple snatch of life—the season is spring and the tree is bursting with blossom. The Heysen family’s cats are seen crouching and stalking on the branches, eyeing their potential prey. Both cats seem ready to pounce on the birds hidden among the blossoms—or at least to tease them. Or is it in fact the wily native birds that are teasing the cats, which is so often the case.

The watercolour was painted for the amusement of the artist’s children and has remained in the family ever since. We are grateful that they have allowed us to secure this work for the national art collection.

This luminous watercolour was a highlight of the recent Hans Heysen exhibition and quickly became one of the most popular works on display.

With your assistance, Spring will be a striking addition to the National Gallery of Australia’s collection and will be prominently displayed on the walls of our Australian galleries. It is true that we don’t represent Heysen as well as other public collections, who acquired his work when the artist was alive.

In becoming a donor you are actively involved in the development of the Gallery, enabling it to meet today’s challenges and fulfil its role of delivering the finest art to the widest possible audience.

Donations to the fund are tax deductible. Contributions will be acknowledged in Artonview magazine and the National Gallery of Australia Foundation Annual Report.

We hope you will join us in shaping the future of the National Gallery of Australia.

Ron Radford AM Director
in Artonview, issue 64,  summer 2010

in artonview, issue 64, summer 2010