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An image of Botanical Gardens, Sydney by Roy de Maistre

Roy de Maistre

(Australia, England 27 Mar 1894 – 01 Mar 1968)

Botanical Gardens, Sydney
Other titles:
Across the Domain
In the Domain
Place of origin
SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
Media category
Materials used
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
Accession number
© Caroline de Mestre Walker
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

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.

Bibliography (1)

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.

Exhibition history (3)

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