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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Untitled (landscape)

circa 1950


Richard Moketarinja


1916 - 06 Jun 1983

Language group

Western Arrernte, Central Desert region


Richard Moketarinja belongs to the first generation of Hermannsburg artists, those who were inspired to paint by the initial success of Albert Namatjira. As Richard Moketarinja is 16 years younger than Albert Namatjira he would have observed the start of the Namatjira's painting career.

Rex Battarbee (Namatjira's mentor) says that he first became interested in Richard Moketarinja as an artist in 1940 when on a painting trip. Moketarinja painted some good watercolours that showed a lot of promise. However it wasn't until several years later that Richard Moketarinja started to paint seriously. In 1948 he spent most of the year painting and had good sales at low prices.

According to Battarbee, Richard Moketarinja was the most outstanding draughtsman of the Hermannsburg painters and what Battarbee calls his 'strength of character' shows in his paintings. The painting Untitled (landscape) c.1950s depicts a typical central Australian landscape.

The composition is unusual as there is what appears to be a river or creek bed in the foreground and two very spindly trees on the plain behind the creek. The painting is delicately painted yet assured. The opposite bank of the river is depicted and this miniature range parallels the ubiquitous purple/blue range on the horizon delineated against the sky. The sky is pale, almost white, and this mirrors the pale creek bed in the foreground.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2002


Place where the work was made

Hermannsburg Northern Territory Australia


circa 1950

Media category


Materials used



25.0 x 37.7 cm sight; 40.0 x 51.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner


Gift of Susan Roberts 2002


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Richard Moketarinja

Works in the collection



Where the work was made