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An image of The Harbour from McMahon's Point by Lloyd Rees
Alternate image of The Harbour from McMahon's Point by Lloyd Rees Alternate image of The Harbour from McMahon's Point by Lloyd Rees Alternate image of The Harbour from McMahon's Point by Lloyd Rees

Lloyd Rees

(Australia 17 Mar 1895 – 02 Dec 1988)

The Harbour from McMahon's Point
Other titles:
The harbour from McMahons Point
McMahons Point, Sydney
The harbour from McMahon's Point
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

77.2 x 99.7 cm stretcher; 103.9 x 125.9 x 8.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, red oil "L REES/ 50".
Purchased 1950
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Rees described his first impressions of Sydney as he arrived by ship through the Heads in 1916.

'When ... the ship cleared the great cliffs of North Head and the harbour spread itself before me with all its bays and vistas, its sculptured foreshores and russet green vegetation, and later its buildings caught in the golden light with rows and rows of them defining the contours of the hills, and the whole bathed in opalescence of colour never previously seen - is it any wonder that Sydney then and there entered my heart never to leave it again ... In that first long look Sydney cast her spell and its has remained with me ever since ...'
- Lloyd Rees 1969

Rees' drawings of the 1930s focused almost exclusively on the harbour as subject, and he had to negotiate many difficulties in his attempts to achieve comparable revelations in his paintings. He won the 1950 Wynne Prize for landscape painting with 'The harbour from McMahon's Point'. Upon receiving it he said, 'I noticed particularly that my pictures were getting lower and lower in tone … as pictures they wouldn't come forward ...I suddenly thought - that was it, you must use more white. So I ... decided on titanium. This brought about a terrific change at once.'

This painting won the Wynne Prize in 1950 and was acquired by the Gallery in 1950.

Bibliography (35)

Clary Akon, Limelight Magazine, 'Nature by design: the art of Lloyd Rees', pg. 96-97, Sydney, Jun 2013, 96.

Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian, 'Tangible Life Forms', pg. 12-13, Surry Hills, 01 Jun 2013-02 Jun 2013, 13 (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Lloyd Rees Retrospective, ‘Catalogue: paintings’, pg. 25-32, Sydney, 1969, 28. titled 'The harbour from McMahons Point'; 43

Giles Auty, The Weekend Australian, 'Reflections on a nation's image', pg. 4, Surry Hills, 12 Aug 2000-13 Aug 2000, 4 (colour illus.). This colour supplement is a 'Review Special' published for the 'Weekend Australian'. It consists of a four-page, colour wrap-around for the 'Weekend Australian Review'. 'The Australian' was the media sponsor for the AGNSW Exhibition 'Australian Icons', for the Olympic Arts Festival 2000.

Helen Campbell, Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, (colour illus.).

Helen Campbell, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Out of Sydney: city and hinterlands', pg. 185-186, Sydney, 2000, 197 (colour illus.), 301.

Rob Ditessa', Artist's palette, 'Icons on show', pg. 54-59, Sydney, 2000, 56 (colour illus.).

Steve Dow, The (Sydney) Magazine, 'Lloyd Rees', Surry Hills, 22 Feb 2013.

Douglas Dundas, Art Gallery of New South Wales quarterly, 'The Wynne and Sulman prizes', pg. 53-56, Sydney, Jan 1961, 55 (illus.).

Dinah Dysart, The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition, 'The public and critical response to the Wynne prize', pg. 15-22, Sydney, 1986, 2 (illus.), 22, 26.

F.L., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Prize-winning paintings in Archibald and Wynne contests', pg. 3, Sydney, 20 Jan 1951, 3 (illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian collection: painting and sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 158 (colour illus.).

Lou Klepac, Affinities: Brett Whiteley & Lloyd Rees, 'Introduction', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 2001, 5 (colour illus.), 8.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Celebrating Lloyd Rees: a book and show on the Gallery’s collection of his work’, pg. 21-23, Newtown, Mar 2013, 22.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees Drawings - Centenary Retrospective, 'Introduction', pg. 7-19, Sydney, 1995, 14.

Brian Ladd and Alan Krell, The Artist & the City, Sydney, 1983, 12, 14 (colour illus.). 22

Elwyn Lynn, The Australian landscape and its artists, ‘Artists and paintings’, pg. 5-6, Rushcutters Bay, 1977, 6, 92, 94 (colour illus.).

Sandra McGrath, Sydney Harbour Paintings from 1794, Milton, 1979, 58.

Hal Missingham, Pix, ‘Australian art no. 13: ‘The harbour from McMahon’s Point’ (by Lloyd Rees)’, pg. 31, Sydney, 09 Dec 1967, 31 (illus.).

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1950, Sydney, 1951, 8. 29

Lloyd O’Neil., Classic Australian paintings, ‘Lloyd Rees’, South Yarra, 1983, n.pag. (colour illus.). plate no. 50

Barry Pearce., Fifteen decades of Australian paintings, ‘List of works’, Sydney, 1981, cover (colour illus.). titled ‘The Harbour from McMahon’s Point’; 13

Renee Renée, Lloyd Rees, ‘Sydney: 1917-42’, pg. 23-50, Melbourne, 1972, 62, 124. O137

Arnold Shore, The Studio, ‘Contemporary Australian painting’, pg. 145-153, London, May 1953, 147 (illus.). titled ‘McMahons Point, Sydney’

William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 170, 171 (colour illus.). plate no. 82

Michael Stutchbury (Editor), The Australian Financial Review, 'Illustrating love of landscapes', pg. L3, Melbourne, 19 Apr 2013-21 Apr 2013, L3 (colour illus.).

Nicola Teffer, Rosie Nice and Caroline Mackaness (Curators), Sydney by ferry, Sydney, 2002, 7.

Martin Terry, Masterpieces of Australian Painting, ‘Lloyd Rees’, pg. 112-115, Sydney, 1984, 114-115 (colour illus.).

The Brett Whiteley Studio, Whiteley & Rees: More affinities, Sydney, 2005, (illus.). List of works

Daniel Thomas., Sydney Harbour, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1963. 46

Laurie Thomas (Editor), Jubilee exhibition of Australian art, Sydney, 1951, 47. 146

Roland Wakelin, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'The artistic development of Lloyd Rees', pg. 490-492, Sydney, Oct 1969, 501 (illus.). 'Lloyd Rees special number'

Judith White (Editor), Look, 'Australian visions', pg. 12, South Yarra, Aug 2000, 12 (colour illus.).

Gavin Wilson, Harbourlife, 'Harbourlife', pg. 7-32, Sydney, 2007, 56, 14-15, 15 (colour illus.).

1951 Archibald Prize illustrated, Sydney, 1951. 43

Exhibition history (14)

Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1950), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 02 Sep 1950–20 Sep 1950

Archibald, Wynne Sulman Competitions for 1950, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Jan 1951–04 Mar 1951

Jubilee exhibition of Australian art:

Twelve Australian Artists:

Sydney Harbour: an exhibition to mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of Australia (1963), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Oct 1963–19 Nov 1963

Lloyd Rees Retrospective (1969-70):

Fifteen decades of Australian painting:

The Artist and the City:

The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition (1987):

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

Affinities: Brett Whiteley & Lloyd Rees (2001), The Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills, 10 Feb 2001–08 Jul 2001

Sydney by ferry, Museum of Sydney, Sydney, 13 Apr 2002–04 Aug 2002

Whiteley & Rees: more affinities (2006):

Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times: