(England, Australia 08 Mar 1856 – 14 Sep 1931)
32.8 x 24.3 cm sheet
This is a rare study for the much admired painted portrait 'Smike Streeton, age 24', 1891, purchased by the Gallery in 1945. It has the acuity of observation and immediacy of a study from life, lacking in a larger charcoal drawing Roberts made of Streeton in 1890 and purchased by the Gallery in 1934. The close association between Roberts and Streeton, as two of the most important Australian artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, alone highlights the art historical value of this drawing. On its verso is a study of a female figure in a cloak.
R H Croll (1869-1947), librarian, senior public servant and writer, was Roberts' first biographer - 'Tom Roberts, father of Australian landscape painting' (1935). Croll also edited the first publication of Streeton's letters - 'Smike to bulldog' (1946). The Australian watercolour painter Len Annois (1906-66) was also a previous owner of the drawing.
excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005
Hendrik Kolenberg, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, 'Introduction', pg. 6-16, Sydney, 2005, 10, 84 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1998, 'Collections', pg. 15-19, Sydney, 1998, 15 (colour illus.).
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005