After failing to enlist in 1916 due to ill health, Roy de Maistre became interested in the treatment of shell-shock patients by putting them in rooms painted in soothing colour combinations. In late 1918, he collaborated with fellow artist Roland Wakelin in exploring the relationship between art and music. Their experiments produced Australia's first abstract paintings, characterised by high-key colour, large areas of flat paint and simplified forms. The works received critical acclaim, but modernist developments were largely derided by the conservative establishment.
After 1919 de Maistre virtually abandoned colour-music and abstraction, instead his paintings of 1921–22 experimented with Max Meldrum's theories of tonalism. 'Across the Domain' 1918 reflects the artist's full embrace of modernism, under the guiding influence of his teacher and mentor Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, who encouraged his exploration of post-Impressionism.
Across the Domain
In the Domain
oil on canvas board
20.0 x 27.5 cm board; 44.0 x 51.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, pen and black ink "R. de Maistre 1918".
Gift of the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 2012
© Caroline de Mestre Walker
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Roy de Maistre: Retrospective exhibition of Paintings and Drawings 1917-1960, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, May 1960–Jun 1960
Important Australian art, Sotheby's Australia, Melbourne, 11 Nov 2010–23 Nov 2010
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 1 publication
Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Colour, light and rhythm: tools for modernity', pg. 21-33, Sydney, 2013, 27 (colour illus.), 312.