Lloyd Rees was a consummate draughtsman of landscape. Many of his finest drawings are in small sketchbooks, of which 19 are extant, all in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection. The Gallery has the most extensive collection of Rees’s work – paintings, drawings and prints spanning 70 years of his working life.
‘The summit Mount Wellington II’ 1973 is arguably his finest drawing. He certainly valued it highly, as did the artist Kenneth Jack, its only owner before it was purchased by the Gallery in 2009.
It was first exhibited at Artarmon Galleries, Sydney and the New Grafton Galleries in London in 1973, and was the poster image for a major survey of contemporary Australian drawings organised by the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1978 and also shown here and at the Queensland Art Gallery.
Mount Wellington dominates Hobart and the Derwent Valley, seemingly changing in mood according to weather conditions and occasionally disappearing from view when shrouded in clouds. There are many images of it by early 19th-century artists and many since, including countless snapshots by tourists to Tasmania who climb or drive to the top, on a road first built by convicts, to experience the view.
After Rees’s son and family first moved to Tasmania to live in 1967, Rees began making his first drawings of Mount Wellington. None, however, are as expressive as this one. Close inspection reveals a rich texture of pen and brush in ink and watercolour, as well as oil pastel (to which Kenneth Jack had introduced him). The bold shapes of the rocks also suggest human form. Rocks held particular significance for Rees, suggesting permanence and acting as symbols for the composition of the earth and its part in the universe.
Rees spoke of landscape as allowing him ‘to glory in all creation as one great unified miracle … in which our lives are set between mundane details … and endless space.’
The Pinnacle, Mt Wellington
The summit, Mt Wellington
The summit, Mount Wellington II
The Summit of Mount Wellington II
pen and black ink, wash, oil pastel, scraping-out, watercolour on ivory laid paper
46.8 x 62.4 cm image; 48.0 x 62.8 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., pen and black ink 'L. REES 1973'.
Edward Stinson Bequest Fund 2009
Not on display
© A&J Rees. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Recent paintings and drawings by Lloyd Rees (1973), Artarmon Galleries, Artarmon, 17 May 1973 -
Lloyd Rees (1973), New Grafton Gallery, London, London, 1973–10 Oct 1973
Contemporary Australian Drawing - 1978 Perth Survey of Drawing:
Lloyd Rees survey drawings and paintings 1918-1980 (1981):
- University Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 01 Mar 1981–01 Apr 1981
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 01 May 1981–01 Jun 1981
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney 30 Jun 1981–01 Jul 1981
- Wollongong Art Gallery, Wollongong 01 Sep 1981–01 Oct 1981
Rees - Whiteley, On the Road to Berry:
Lloyd Rees Drawings (1995-96):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 09 Mar 1995–14 May 1995
- Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst 09 Jun 1995–16 Jul 1995
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 01 Sep 1995–15 Oct 1995
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Nov 1995–01 Jan 1996
- Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Launceston 24 Jan 1996–11 Mar 1996
Australian Collection Focus: some recent acquisitions: - Nolan, Boyd, Fairweather, Rees (2010), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 Oct 2010–09 Jan 2011
Referenced in 14 publications
Clary Akon, Limelight Magazine, 'Nature by design: the art of Lloyd Rees', pg. 96-97, Sydney, Jun 2013, 96 (colour illus.).
Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian, 'Tangible Life Forms', pg. 12-13, Sydney, 01 Jun 2013-02 Jun 2013, 12 (colour illus.), 13.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Contemporary Australian Drawing - 1978 Perth Survey of Drawing, ‘Catalogue’, pp 10-15, Perth, 1978, 91 (illus.). titled 'The Summit of Mount Wellington II’; plate no.76; image also reproduced on exhibition poster
Renée Free, Lloyd Rees: the later works, ‘Part two: Australia’, pg. 61-155, Sydney, 1983, 72, 73 (colour illus.), 166. plate no. 16
Renée Free, Lloyd Rees: the last twenty years, ‘Part two: Australia’, pg. 61-155, Sydney, 1990, 72, 73 (colour illus.). plate no. 16
Lou Klepac (Editor), Rees - Whiteley, On the Road to Berry, ‘The catalogue’, pp 14-20, Melbourne, 1993, 16, 17 (colour illus.). cat.no. 36
Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees Drawings - Centenary Retrospective, ‘The Seventies’, pp 84-105, Sydney, 1995, 95 (colour illus.). cat.no. 105
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Monumental brooding power: another Rees masterpiece for the collection', pp 22-23, Sydney, Apr 2010, 22, 23 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Celebrating Lloyd Rees: a book and show on the Gallery’s collection of his work’, pg. 21-23, Sydney, Mar 2013, 21, 22 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees: paintings, drawings and prints, ‘Introduction’, pp 11-26, Sydney, 2013, front cover (colour illus.), 16-17 (colour illus.), 19, 158. cat.no. 1
David Levell, Qantas the Australian Way, 'Diary; the best of what's on in Australia, state by state.', pg. 170-171, Sydney, Jun 2013, 170, 171 (colour illus.).
Elwyn Lynn, The Australian, 'Honest gazing into the void', Sydney, 09 Oct 1993, n.pag..
New Grafton Gallery, London, Lloyd Rees, London, 1973. cat.no. 5
Lloyd Rees, Lloyd Rees survey drawings and paintings 1918-1980, ‘Catalogue’, pp 18-50, Melbourne, 1981, 41 (illus.). titled 'The Pinnacle, Mt Wellington'; cat.no. 29