Frederick McCubbin studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School under the Romantic landscape painter Eugene von Guérard and later with George Folingsby, an artist whose primary interest lay in academic figure painting. McCubbin was appointed drawing master there in 1886. This self-portrait dates from that year of his first appointment, and reflects the young artist’s pleasure in this recognition.
McCubbin was one of the key founders of the Heidelberg school of Australian Impressionism. Like Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, McCubbin subsequently became inspired during the 1890s to create large-scale pioneering history subjects, which are among the best known and most popularly admired Australian paintings.
oil on canvas on hardboard
68.2 x 43.2 cm board; 67.1 x 48.6 cm sight edge; 84.5 x 59.0 x 6.3 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, red oil "F McCubbin/ 1886".
Not on display
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Artists by artists (1954), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Nov 1954–05 Dec 1954
The artists' camps: Plein air painting in Melbourne 1885-1898:
What's lost/ what's won: conviction and contradiction in the art of Frederick McCubbin, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Toowoomba, 09 Sep 1999–28 Nov 1999
To look within: Self portraits in Australia:
- University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane 16 Apr 2004–20 Jun 2004
- National Portrait Gallery [Old Parliament House], Canberra 09 Jul 2004–19 Sep 2004
Impressions: painting light and life, National Portrait Gallery [Parliamentary Zone], Canberra, 25 Nov 2011–04 Mar 2012
Referenced in 6 publications
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, Melbourne, 1985, 45 (colour illus.).
Sarah Engledow, Impressions: painting light & life, Catalogue essay, pg. 7-16, Canberra, 2011, 8, 26 (caption), 27 (colour illus.). cat.no. 05
Terence Lane, Age, 'Southern lights', pg. 14, Melbourne, 24 Mar 2007, 14 (illus.).
Desmond Macaulay and Bettina Macaulay, What's lost/what's won - Conviction and contradiction in the art of Frederick McCubbin, Toowoomba, 1999, 3 (colour illus.), 11-12, 20.
Humphrey McQueen, Tom Roberts, Sydney, 1996.
Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 68 (colour illus.), 301.