"His later landscape reveals a greater refinement of drawing, a more subtle engagement with the elements of Nature, upon which the mood of the artist is indelibly but delicately impressed."
Lionel Lindsay, 1938
'Weetangera, Canberra' was Gruner's seventh and last Wynne Prize award and also won the Society of Artists award for the best picture in their annual exhibition for 1937. Together with other works painted after his return from Europe in 1925, it follows a marked departure from the works of his earlier Emu Plains series (also on display) and shows his awareness of the concerns of modern painting.
Towards the end of his life, when this work was painted, Gruner told friends that the areas around Bellingen and Canberra had the greatest clarity of light, that quality that he had '... travelled the continent looking for'. In this painting of the Murrumbidgee River at Weetangera, Gruner has thinned his paint, allowing it to flow with and thereby emphasise the anatomy and pattern of the landscape.
Following his return to Australia in 1921, Gruner's increased interest in design was influenced by George Lambert, as well as the experience of making aerial sketches whilst flying with a friend in 1920. Whilst in England in 1924 - 25 he had been impressed by the opinions and works of various leading English and French artists, such as William Orpen, Gauguin and Cézanne. Norman Lindsay recalled some of Gruner's frequent maxims at this time: 'Paint can't be too thin. No picture should be bigger than two by three feet. Style is more important than subject. Paint should have a dry, pastel-like surface'.
In his will, Elioth Gruner provided for an annual 'Gruner Prize' competition for the best oil landscape painted by a student resident in New South Wales, which continues to the present day, providing a practical embodiment of his generosity towards his fellow artists.
Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1997
This painting won the Wynne Prize in 1937 and was acquired by the Gallery in 1937.
The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra
Murrumbidgee at Weetangera
oil on canvas
63.8 x 76.5 cm stretcher; 88.0 x 100.9 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "GRUNER/ 1937".
Shown in 11 exhibitions
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1937), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 04 Sep 1937–01 Oct 1937
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
Wynne Art Prize, 1937, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Feb 1938–Mar 1938
Golden Gate International Exposition:
Art of Australia 1788-1941:
- National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. 01 Oct 1941–26 Oct 1941
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 17 Nov 1941–31 Dec 1941
- Yale University Art Gallery, United States of America 02 Mar 1942–23 Mar 1942
- Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 03 Apr 1942–15 May 1942
- Wilmington Society of Fine Arts, Wilmington 01 Jun 1942–27 Jun 1942
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, United States of America 10 Jul 1942–27 Aug 1942
- Toledo Museum of Art, United States of America 06 Sep 1942–27 Sep 1942
- Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester 05 Oct 1942–02 Nov 1942
- Cleveland Museum of Art, United States of America 09 Nov 1942–07 Dec 1942
- Detroit Institiute of Arts, Detroit 01 Jan 1943–29 Jan 1943
- Herron Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indianapolis 08 Apr 1943–05 May 1943
- Fort Wayne Art School and Museum, Fort Wayne 12 May 1943–31 May 1943
- Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City 07 Sep 1943–08 Oct 1943
- Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa 20 Oct 1943–17 Nov 1943
- Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Dallas 28 Nov 1943–26 Dec 1943
- Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, Abilene 10 Jan 1944–07 Feb 1944
- Heard Museum, Phoenix Fine Arts Association, Phoenix 21 Feb 1944–20 Mar 1944
- San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco 04 Apr 1944–07 May 1944
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Oriental Museum, San Jose 19 May 1944–16 Jun 1944
- Hamline University, St Paul 01 Dec 1944–17 Dec 1944
- Society Liberal Arts, Joslyn Memorial, Omaha 06 Jan 1945–27 Jan 1945
- Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, United States of America 06 Feb 1945–27 Feb 1945
- Quincy Art Club, Quincy 09 Mar 1945–30 Mar 1945
- Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City 13 Apr 1945–04 May 1945
- University of Oklahoma, Norman 14 May 1945–04 Jun 1945
- North Texas State Teachers' College, Denton 14 Jun 1945–05 Jul 1945
Aspects of Australian art: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1976, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976–1977
Elioth Gruner 1882-1939 (1983), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jul 1983–04 Sep 1983
A century of Australian landscape painting: mood and moment:
The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition (1987):
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney 19 Dec 1986–01 Feb 1987
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 06 Mar 1987–29 Mar 1987
- Orange Regional Gallery, Australia 10 Apr 1987–17 May 1987
- Griffith Regional Art Gallery 03 Jun 1987–20 Jun 1987
- Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, Australia 01 Jul 1987–26 Jul 1987
- Albury Regional Gallery, Albury 07 Aug 1987–06 Sep 1987
- Broken Hill City Art Gallery, Broken Hill 18 Sep 1987–26 Oct 1987
- Tamworth City Gallery, Tamworth 05 Nov 1987–13 Dec 1987
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Elioth Gruner: the texture of light:
Referenced in 21 publications
BJW, Elioth Gruner memorial loan exhibition, 'Elioth Gruner', pg. 1-3, Sydney, 1940, 2.
Helen Campbell., Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, 'Celebrating the Wynne Centenary 1897-1997', Sydney, 1997, (colour illus.). not paginated; no catalogue numbers
Edmund Capon (Director), Barry Pearce (Curator) and Dinah Dysart (Curator), The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition, Sydney, 1986, 26.
Deboarh Clark, Elioth Gruner: the texture of light, 'Elioth Gruner: the texture of light', pg. 9-89, Canberra, 2014, 70, 71 (colour illus.), 97, 101.
Douglas Dundas, Art Gallery of New South Wales quarterly, 'The Wynne and Sulman prizes', pg. 53-56, Sydney, Jan 1961, 55 (illus.). titled 'The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra'
Lou Klepac, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Hans Heysen / Elioth Gruner / Horace Trennery', pg. 32-47, Sydney, 2002, 44 (colour illus.), 45, 143, 147.
Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 103 [Gallery No. 2]
Lionel Lindsay, Art in Australia [series 3, no. 70], 'The exhibition of One Hundred and Fifty Years of Australian Art', pg. 14-21, Sydney, Mar 1938, 17 (colour illus.).
Robert Lindsay., Aspects of Australian Art: Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling art exhibition 1976, 'Elioth Gruner', Sydney, 1976, (illus.). cat.no. 22; not paginated; titled 'The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra' [sic]
Myra Morris, Australian landscape: painted by Australian artists, Sydney, 1944, front dustjacket (colour illus.).
New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists annual exhibition, Sydney, 1937, (illus.). cat.no. 106; titled 'Landscape near Canberra', kindly lent by the National Art Gallery of NSW; caption for reproduction titled 'Murrumbidgee at Westangera [sic]'.
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Earth, sky and paint', pg. 149-150, Sydney, 2000, 156 (colour illus.), 300.
Barry Pearce, Elioth Gruner 1882-1939, Sydney, 1983, 29, 56 (colour illus.), 57. cat.no. 73
Barry Pearce, A century of Australian landscape: mood and moment, Sydney, 1983, 16, 75 (colour illus.). cat.no. 53
Bernard William Smith, A catalogue of Australian oil paintings in the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1875-1952, Sydney, 1953, 83-84. cat.no. 239, titled 'The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra'
Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Present day art in Australia, Sydney, 1949, 37 (colour illus.).
Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 39. cat.no. 76. Titled 'Weetangra [sic], Canberra'.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Archibald Prize winner. Normand H. Baker. Wynne Prize to Gruner', Sydney, 25 Feb 1938. Review of the Archibald and Wynne Prizes for 1937.
Unknown (Editor), Sun, 'Landscape prize', pg. 2, Sydney, 25 Feb 1938, 2.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Bulletin, 'Sunday shows. Archibald and Wynne prizes', pg. 38, Sydney, 02 Mar 1938, 38.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home annual: Australian life and scenery, Sydney, Oct 1938, 14 (colour illus.).