(Australia, England, Australia 08 Apr 1867–01 Sep 1943)
73.6 x 58.5cm sheet
Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts are celebrated for having given a distinctly Australian flavour to landscape painting at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, painting what is popularly considered an Australian version of Impressionism. It was Streeton's ability to create a particularly convincing sensation of Australian space and light in his paintings, with fresh and vigorous paint handling, that most sets him apart from his friends and contemporaries. On the recommendation of Julian Ashton, his painting 'Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide' 1890, was purchased by the Gallery in the year it was painted. It was also the first painting by him to be bought by a public gallery, precipitating his move to Sydney. Furthermore, it is one of several masterpieces by Streeton in the Gallery's collection, rivalling his archetypal 'Fire's on' 1891 (purchased in 1893), 'The railway station, Redfern' 1893, and 'Cremorne pastoral' 1895.
This watercolour is not a study for the painting 'Fire's on' but an independent work, preceding the painting rather than following it, contrary to its inscribed date. Streeton enthusiastically referred to it in a letter to Frederick McCubbin in October 1891 (refer to Croll 'Smike to Bulldog' 1946, pg. 20-22) and it was included in the Gallery's exhibition of selected works from its watercolour competition of 1891. It also attracted the attention of a reviewer for the 'Sydney Morning Herald' who, on 1 December 1891, noted that this watercolour:
'... does not appear to have been viewed with favour by the trustees. But it will more than repay a second look, and there may be some visitors who might think its merits entitle it to a place beside some of the pictures chosen. The subject is a 'Blue Mountain Tunnel' and the choice appears to us to be as characteristic as the treatment is admirable. There is the iron track, with the sandy mounds turned up on each side, and the masses of rock through which the workers have driven their way - colour, tone and subject all strikingly real.'
Streeton entered the watercolour in the Gallery's 1891 watercolour prize unsigned or inscribed, as was required, dating it (incorrectly) only on its return to him.
'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us' by Hendrik Kolenberg, pg. 24-27., Look Apr 2005, Apr 2005, 26.
Hendrik Kolenberg (Netherlands; Australia) (Author), Anne Ryan (Australia) (Author), Patricia James (Author), 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Domain, 2005, 4 (colour illus., detail), 12, 100, 101 (colour illus.).
Rex Butler (Editor), Radical revisionism: an anthology of writings on Australian art, Brisbane, 2005, 175.
Geoffrey Smith (Author), Arthur Streeton, 1867-1943, South Yarra, 1995, 82, 83 (colour illus.). cat.no. 32
Hendrik Kolenberg (Netherlands; Australia) (Author), Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 10, 24 (colour illus.), 25. cat.no. 9
Gavin Fry (Author), David Burke (Australia) (Author), Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, Sydney, 1994, 7, 20, 21 (colour illus.), 48. cat.no. 5
Christopher Wray (Author), Arthur Streeton: painter of light, Milton, 1993, 80.
Barry Pearce (Australia) (Author), Patricia McDonald (Editor), Haruo Arikawa (Japan) (Author), Chikashi Kitazaki (Japan) (Editor), Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 79 (colour illus.).
Ann Galbally (Australia) (Editor), Anne Gray (Australia, b.1947) (Editor), Letters from Smike: the letters of Arthur Streeton, 1890-1943, Melbourne, 1989, 36, 37, 40.
Geoffrey Dutton (Australia, b.1922, d.1998) (Author), Arthur Streeton 1867-1943 a biographical sketch, Brisbane, 1987, 32, 82-83 (colour illus.).
'"Fire's on": some thoughts on a national icon', by Barry Pearce, pg. 527-530., Art and Australia (Vol. 23, No. 4) Winter 1986, Winter 1986, 530 (colour illus.).
Jane Clark (Australia) (Author), Bridget Whitelaw (Author), Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 140.
Jane de Teliga (Australia) (Author), Australian images: Prints, drawings and watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1979, 9.
Robert Hughes (Australia; United States of America, b.1938, d.2012) (Author), The art of Australia, Ringwood, 1970, 63.
Ann Galbally (Australia) (Author), John Henshaw (New Zealand; Australia, b.1929, d.2006) (Editor), Arthur Streeton, Melbourne, 1969, 80 (illus.). cat.no. 45
Alan McCulloch (Australia, b.1907, d.1992) (Author), John Henshaw (New Zealand; Australia, b.1929, d.2006) (Editor), The golden age of Australian painting - Impressionism and the Heidelberg school, Melbourne, 1969, 178 (illus.). plate no. 36
R.H. Goddard (Author), Lionel Lindsay (Australia, b.1874, d.1961) (Author), C.B. Newling (Author), A memorial volume to Howard Hinton patron of art, Sydney, 1951, 139 (illus.). cat.no. 117; titled 'Cutting the tunnel'
National Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia, estab. 1874), Howard Hinton memorial exhibition, Sydney, 1948, 18. cat.no. 117; titled 'Cutting the tunnel'
Smike to bulldog: letters from Sir Arthur Streeton to Tom Roberts 1946, 1946, 5, 20, 21, 47 (colour illus.), dust jacket (colour illus.).
Trustees of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia), Australian watercolours from the National Art Gallery collection 1836 to 1946, Domain, 1946, 4-5, 9. cat.no. 12
Lionel Lindsay (Australia, b.1874, d.1961) (Author), Streeton memorial exhibition souvenir catalogue, Sydney, 1945. cat.no. 59
Art in Australia [series 3, no. 60] Aug 1935, Aug 1935, 29 (colour illus.).
Arthur Streeton (Australia; England; Australia, b.1867, d.1943), The Arthur Streeton catalogue, Melbourne, 1935, 116. cat.no. 115; titled 'Fires on, Glenbrook'
Robert Croll (Australia, b.1867, d.1947) (Author), Tom Roberts: father of Australian landscape painting, Melbourne, 1935, 186.
'Arthur Streeton, artist and his Australian work' by D.H. Souter, pg. 225-229., Art and architecture: the journal of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales 1905, 1905, 226 (illus.).
'Spring exhibitions of pictures, Sydney, N.W.Wales', pg. 341., Magazine of art May 1898, May 1898, 341.
'Opening the new gallery, the Society of Artists, an arts and crafts exhibition', pg. 7., The Sydney Morning Herald 02 Oct 1897, 02 Oct 1897, 7.
'The Victorian artists exhibition', pg. 7., Table talk 27 May 1892, 27 May 1892, 7.
'An exhibition of watercolours', pg. 5., The Sydney Morning Herald 01 Dec 1891, 01 Dec 1891, 5.
Watercolour drawings competition - scenery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 24 Nov 1891–01 Jan 1892.
Exhibition of paintings, sculpture and drawings, Victorian Artists Society, 27 May 1892 -.
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1897), Vickery's Chambers, 02 Oct 1897 -.
Loan exhibition of Australian Art (1918), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 04 Apr 1918–1918.
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1935), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], 06 Sep 1935–04 Oct 1935.
Arthur Streeton memorial exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 12 Apr 1945–20 May 1945.
Australian watercolours from the National Art Gallery collection 1836-1946, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 24 May 1946–Jun 1946.
Howard Hinton memorial exhibition (1948), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Apr 1948–30 Apr 1948.
Australian images: Prints, drawings and watercolours from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 22 Dec 1979–28 Jan 1980.
Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection (1991), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Apr 1991–07 Jul 1991.
Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, S.H. Ervin Gallery, 22 Apr 1994–29 May 1994.
Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 18 Nov 1995–14 Jan 1996.
Arthur Streeton, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], 08 Dec 1995–12 Feb 1996.
Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, City of Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 1996–1996.
Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 1996–1996.
Arthur Streeton, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 11 Oct 1996–24 Nov 1996.
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000.
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005.