"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.
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
Not on display
Shown in 5 exhibitions
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
Referenced in 6 publications
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.
Brett Hilder and Lloyd Rees, The heritage of J. J. Hilder, Sydney, 1966, 51 (colour illus.). plate no. XII, cat.no. 203
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 33 (colour illus.), 116. cat.no. 20
Hendrik Kolenberg, Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1989. cat.no. 30
Ursula Prunster and Edmund Capon, J.J. Hilder and contemporaries, Sydney, 1981, (illus.). cat.no. 6