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An image of Weetangera, Canberra by Elioth Gruner

Elioth Gruner

(New Zealand, Australia 16 Dec 1882 – 17 Oct 1939)

Weetangera, Canberra
Other titles:
The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra
Murrumbidgee at Weetangera
Media category
Materials used
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".
Purchased 1937
Accession number
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

"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.

Bibliography (21)

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, 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.).

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 103 [Gallery No. 2]

Robert Lindsay., Aspects of Australian Art: Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling art exhibition 1976, 'Elioth Gruner', Sydney, 1976, (illus.). 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.). 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. 73

Barry Pearce, A century of Australian landscape: mood and moment, Sydney, 1983, 16, 75 (colour illus.). 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. 239, titled 'The Murrumbidgee at Weetangra'

Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Art of Australia 1788-1941, New York, 1941, 39. 76. Titled 'Weetangra [sic], Canberra'.

Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Present day art in Australia, Sydney, 1949, 37 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), Bulletin, 'Sunday shows. Archibald and Wynne prizes', pg. 38, Sydney, 02 Mar 1938, 38.

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.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home annual: Australian life and scenery, Sydney, Oct 1938, 14 (colour illus.).

Unknown (Editor), Sun, 'Landscape prize', pg. 2, Sydney, 25 Feb 1938, 2.

Exhibition history (11)

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:

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):

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: