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The national game



Arthur Streeton

Australia, England, Australia

08 Apr 1867 - 01 Sep 1943


'An effect is only momentary ... it has been the object of the artists to render faithfully, and thus obtain first records of effects widely differing, and often of very fleeting character'.

9 by 5 impression exhibition catalogue, 1889

'The national game' was exhibited in the influential '9 by 5 impression exhibition' held at Buxton's Gallery in Swanston Street, Melbourne, in August 1889. The exhibition included paintings that would normally have been considered preliminary sketches for larger works and consequently unsuitable for public exhibition. It proved to be central to the development of the Heidelberg school of Australian 'impressionism', a turning point in the history of Australian landscape painting.


Other Titles

The football match


The football game

Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on cardboard


11.8 x 22.9 cm board; 34.5 x 50.8 x 2.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, incised "A.S.". Not dated.


Purchased 1963

Accession number


Artist information

Arthur Streeton

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 13 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 20 publications


Leigh Astbury, Sunlight and shadow: Australian impressionist painters 1880-1900, Rushcutters Bay, 1989, 202. plate no.150

Jane Clark, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, 'The 9 by 5 Impression exhibition, 1889', pg. 112-117, Melbourne, 1985, 127 (colour illus.).

Ann Galbally, Arthur Streeton, Melbourne, 1969, 13 (colour illus.), 16, 80. 27; colour plate no. 6A

G.E.W. Harriott (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 20 Nov 1974, 43.

Anne Kern, Arthur Streeton the man and his art, 'The 9 x 5 exhibition era', pg. 13-16, Leichhardt, 1981, 13, 14 (colour illus.). Plate no. 3A

Terence Lane, Australian Impressionism, 'The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition - The Challenge of the Sketch', pg. 157-163, Melbourne, 2007, 334, 179 (colour illus.). 9.53

Macquarie Galleries, Catalogue of Australian art in the nineties, Sydney, 1934. 29; titled 'The football match'

Lisa Martin, Age, '"A pain to the eye" - art critic James Smith, The Argus newspaper, August 17, 1889', pg. 4, Melbourne, 08 May 2007, 4.

Chris McAuliffe, Art and Australia (Vol. 32, No. 4), 'Eyes on the ball: images of Australian rules football', pg. 490-501, Sydney, Winter 1995, 492, 493 (colour illus.), 494, 495.

Dr Chris McAuliffe, Basil Sellers art prize (2008), 'Life, shadow and spectacle: An overview of art and sport in Australia', pg. 6-11, Melbourne, 2008, 8, 10 (colour illus.).

John McDonald, Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, 'Our hill of gold', pg. 419-484, Sydney, 2008, 474 (colour illus.), 480.

Timothy Morrell, Ready Set Go! Sporting life and Australian art, 'Ready Set Go!', pg. 40-49, Ipswich, 2001, 44 (colour illus.), 45, 55.

John Olsen, Art and Australia [series 3, vol. 1, no. 3], 'Sir Arthur Streeton', pg. 161-164, Sydney, Nov 1963, 160-165, 164 (illus.).

Barry Pearce, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Presenting our own artists', pg. 42-44, Sydney, May 2003, 42.

Geoffrey Smith, Arthur Streeton, 1867-1943, ''Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide' Melbourne 1867-90', pg. 11-66, South Yarra, 1995, 50, 51 (colour illus.). 18

Geoffrey Smith and Robyn Krause-Hale, Arthur Streeton 1867-1943: Education guide, Parkes, 1995, (illus.). no pagination

Arthur Streeton, The Arthur Streeton catalogue, Melbourne, 1935, 115. 87

Russel Ward and Graeme Inson, The glorious years of Australia fair from the birth of the Bulletin to Versailles, Milton, 1971, 105 (colour illus.).

Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 48 (colour illus.).

Christopher Wray, Arthur Streeton: painter of light, 'The 9 by 5 exhibition', pg. 40-49, Milton, 1993, 43.