Davies painted 'A summer evening' during an industrious five-year sojourn in Australia, which followed a brief period of travel and study in Europe. The work is characteristic of Melbourne painting of the 1890s, in the shift of its mood from the bright, sunlit imagery of the Heidelberg painters, to the pensive, restrained and fugitive effects of early evening light upon the landscape. In this painting David Davies moves away from Australian nationalism to a softer, European sensibility, possibly influenced by Whistler and other artists when he studied in Paris and England during 1890–93.
oil on canvas on hardboard
71.1 x 91.2 cm board; 92.7 x 112.3 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, brown oil "DAVID DAVIES". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1896), Cliff Gallery, Sydney, 05 Sep 1896 -
Exhibition of Australian art in London (1898), Grafton Galleries, London, 02 Apr 1898–31 Jul 1898
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
100 years of Australian painting (1948), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Apr 1948–17 May 1948
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Australian painting, XIX and XX century, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, May 1964 -
A century of Australian landscape painting: mood and moment:
David Davies (1984-1985):
- Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat 11 Sep 1984–11 Nov 1984
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 04 Dec 1984–06 Jan 1985
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 01 Feb 1985–10 Mar 1985
Nocturne: images of night and darkness from colonial to contemporary, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, 23 Apr 2002–16 Jun 2002
Referenced in 19 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 85 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, A selection of eighty-two reproductions mainly from the Australian collection and including examples from the British, French and Dutch [Art Gallery of New South Wales]., Sydney, 1959, (illus.). plate no. 18
Julian Ashton., Daily telegraph, ‘National Art Gallery: The Australian Court’, Sydney, 27 Sep 1905, unknown.
Herbert Badham, A study of Australian art, Sydney, 1949, 56 (illus.).
Okko Boer, Masters of the Heidelberg School, Leichhardt, 1998, 86 (colour illus.). plate no. 82
John Buckley (Curator), Nocturne: images of night and darkness from colonial to contemporary, Mornington, 2002, 10, 27. no catalogue numbers
Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian Art in the Old Courts', pg. 24-37, Sydney, 1984, 32 (colour illus.), 33.
Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 76
Elwyn Lynn, The Australian landscape and its artists, Rushcutters Bay, 1977, 51 (illus.).
Alan McCulloch and Susan McCulloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, St Leonards, 1994, 279 (colour illus.).
Susan McCulloch-Uelin, The Weekend Australian, 'Lunar dreaming', pg. R16-R17., Sydney, 20 Apr 2002-21 Apr 2002, R17. In the Arts section of the Weekend Australian. Review of the exhibition 'Nocturne'.
Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 21 (colour illus.).
William Patey, The golden age of Australian art, Victoria, 1992, 52-53 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, A century of Australian landscape: mood and moment, Sydney, 1983, 15, 46 (colour illus.). cat.no. 28
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 18.
Ursula Prunster, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Home and abroad', pg. 73-74, Sydney, 2000, 77 (colour illus.), 300.
Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 5. cat.no. 7; titled 'Summer evening'
Cameron Sparks, David Davies 1864-1939, 'David Davies: 1864-1939', pg. 9-20, Ballarat, 1984, 12, 40, 41 (illus.). cat.no. 22
William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 84, 85 (colour illus.). plate no. 39