What convinced the cautious Wakelin to embark on an interlude of avant-gardism around 1919 can only be surmised. In that year, with Roy de Maistre, he showed 'colour harmonies' - tiny chromatic experiments without precedent in Australian painting. Older by a few years than his co-exhibitor, Wakelin was feasibly fired by a spirit of competition and camaraderie. 'Syncromy in orange major' is a landscape, but one in which the structural underpinnings of place have been extracted, stripped, and presented for pure aesthetic consideration, not for descriptive purposes. A rare handful of related studies survive, Wakelin having revoked the enterprise in 1920.
Synchromy in orange major
Syncromy in orange red
oil on canvas on hardboard
31.0 x 41.2 cm board; 40.5 x 47.6 x 3.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, black ink "R.S.Wakelin 1919".
Bequest of Mervyn Horton 1983
© Roland Wakelin Estate
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Colour in art (1919), Gayfield Shaw Gallery, Sydney, 08 Aug 1919–Unknown
Roland Wakelin retrospective (1967):
Tribute to Mervyn Horton, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Oct 1983–14 Nov 1984
Acquisitions from the Komon, Salkauskas and Horton Funds, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 May 1987–31 May 1987
Two hundred years of Australian painting : Nature, people and art in the southern continent:
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Colour in Art - revisiting 1919:
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales:
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 28 publications
Candice Bruce, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, 'Painting a Symphony. Roland Wakelin The Bridge under construction', pg. 132-37, Brisbane, 1998, 135, 218.
Edmund Capon, I blame Duchamp: my life's adventures in art, 'John Bull and the Little Boy at Manly', pg. 321-333, Sydney, 2009, 329.
Joan Chambers and Sophia Watson, Art in the sun, 'Roland Wakelin 1887-1971', pg. 28, Brookvale, 2000, 28 (colour illus.).
Douglas Dundas, Art and Australia [series 5, vol. 4, no. 4], 'Roland Wakelin: the painter', pg. 278-282, Sydney, Mar 1967-May 1967, 286 (colour illus.). Collection Meryn Horton
Douglas Dundas, Roland Wakelin retrospective, 'Introduction', pg. 3-6, Sydney, 1967, 7. cat.no. 15; Collection of Mr Mervyn Horton
Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Colour, light and rhythm: tools for modernity', pg. 21-33, Sydney, 2013, 27, 51 (colour illus.), 317.
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 104, 106, 107 (colour illus.).
Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'The shock of early modernism', pg. 206-217, Carlton, 2013, 208, 209 (colour illus.), 549, 570. plate no. 21.2
Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'L'Esprit Nouveau 1913-1929', pg. 19-47, Carlton, 2009, 23 (colour illus.),.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 133 (colour illus.).
Heather Johnson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Roy de Maistre / Roland Wakelin', pg. 48-59, Sydney, 2002, 5 (colour illus., detail), 6, 48, 53, 146, 147.
Heather Johnson, Australian art collector, 'Private Pleasure, Public Gain - the influence of private collections', pg. 58-61, Ultimo, Apr 1998-Jun 1998, 59.
Elwyn Lynn (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 21, No. 1), 'The Mervyn Horton Collection', pg. 72, Sydney, Spring 1983, cover (colour illus.).
John MacDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Men of colours: Australia's early abstract paintings are music to the eyes', pg. 16-17, Sydney, 13 Sep 2008-14 Sep 2008, 16, 17 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 21.
Barry Pearce and Haruo Arikawa, Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 119 (colour illus.). cat.no. 68
Annabel Pegus, Look, 'Resonance of colour and music: a parallel vision that reached out to another generation', pg. 12-13, Sydney, May 2002, 12.
Annabel Pegus, Colour in art: Revisiting 1919, 'Roland Wakelin's colour music', pg. 16-18, Sydney, 2008, 8, 16, 39 (colour illus.).
Annabel Pegus, Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia, '2 Colour in art', pg. 16-21, Sydney, 2008, 20 (colour illus.). NOTE: Caption states: 'This painting was shown at the 'Colour in Art' exhibition in 1919 as no. 4 Syncromy in Orange Red. It depicts Berry's Bay on Sydney Harbour.'
Laura Pia, Look, 'Colour music: Composing paintings with colours as notes', pg. 34-37, Sydney, Jul 2008, 35 (colour illus.).
Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, front cover of folder (colour illus., detail), front cover of card no. 4 (colour illus.). card no. 4: Roland Wakelin 'Synchromy in orange major' 1919
Stephen Scheding, A Small Unsigned Painting, Milsons Point, 1998, between pg. 164-165 (illus.).
Gayfield Shaw (Compilator), Colour in art, Sydney, 1919. cat.no. 7; collection of Leonard Dodds, not for sale
Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia (Vol. 21, No. 1), 'The Mervyn Horton collection', pg.72-83, Sydney, Spring 1983, 82, 83 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas, Creating Australia: 200 years of art 1788-1988, 'Twentieth-Century Art: Culture', pg.146, Melbourne, 1988, 150 (colour illus.), 247.
Daniel Thomas, Symposium papers: Colour in art - revisiting 1919 & R-Balson, 'Keynote Address: Modern Australia: Colour in art 1910s-1950s', pg. 3-11, Sydney, 2008, front cover (colour illus., detail), 3, 5-6.
Leslie Walton, The art of Roland Wakelin, Sydney, 1987, 17, 45 (colour illus.), 125. plate no. 12
Tribute to Mervyn Horton, Sydney, 1983. List of works