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An image of Ploughing by J J Hilder

J J Hilder

(Australia 23 Jul 1881 – Apr 1916)

Media category
Materials used
watercolour on paper

22.9 x 29.1 cm sheet; 45.2 x 52.2 x 1.7 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, grey watercolour "J.J.HILDER/ 1910".
Bequest of Dr and Mrs Sinclair Gillies 1952
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

"His power of selection never left him. He instinctively avoided the obvious and commonplace in nature and the simplest thing always appealed to him. A group of trees, a broken sliprail, an old stable, a man working in a clay pit. They sound commonplace, but seen through Hilder's eyes they are transformed into something beautiful. "

Sydney Ure Smith, 1916

With a sweeping perspective, Hilder accentuates the large cumulous cloud surging at centre - encouraging speculation on the untilled field beyond. The horses appear shrouded in a hot vapour as they pull the plough languidly across the land. Through Hilder's wet wash technique the pigment appears almost to meld with the fibres of the paper. Using mostly cool colours he miraculously creates a sweaty heat that hangs on this symbol of rural labour, the ploughman.

Bibliography (6)

Douglas Dundas., The Etruscan, 'The watercolours of J.J. Hilder', Sydney, Sep 1959, 21 (colour illus.).

Gavin Fry, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'J.J. Hilder / Blamire Young / Norman Lindsay', pg. 72-87, Sydney, 2002, 75 (colour illus.), 144, 147.

Captain Brett Hilder and Lloyd Rees, The heritage of J. J. Hilder, Sydney, 1966, 51 (colour illus.). plate no. XII, 203

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 33 (colour illus.), 116. 20

Hendrik Kolenberg, Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1989. 30

Ursula Prunster and Edmund Capon, J.J. Hilder and contemporaries, Sydney, 1981, (illus.). 6

Exhibition history (5)

J.J. Hilder memorial exhibition (1916), Society of Artists, Sydney, 14 Jul 1916 -

J.J. Hilder and Contemporaries:

Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Apr 1989–25 Jun 1989

Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s:

Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003