A road to the ranges
08 Apr 1867 - 01 Sep 1943
"'A Road to the Ranges'...is another good thing. The landscape is represented under full sunlight, the yellow road dotted with figures on 'the wallaby', the ranges showing up darkly blue in the distance'.
Evening Standard, 17th August 1889
During the summer of 1888-1889 a young Arthur Streeton travelled by train to the beautiful surrounds of Heidelberg, 12 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. There Streeton managed to secure the homestead Mount Eagle after striking up an acquaintance with the brother-in-law of artist David Davies which enabled him to live, paint and teach in the area for the following two years. It was also here that the artist would - along with Tom Roberts and Charles Conder - organise the landmark 9 by 5 Impressionism Exhibition held at Buxton's Rooms, Melbourne, in August 1889.
Conceived by the older Roberts who had encountered second-hand examples of impressionism whilst studying in London (1881-1884), the 9 by 5 Impressionism Exhibition was central to the development of the so-called 'Heidelberg School' and a turning point in the history of landscape painting in Australia. Its purpose, as stated in the decorative catalogue, was 'to render faithfully, and thus obtain first records of effects widely differing, and often of very fleeting character'.
'A road to the ranges' 1889 was one of the forty impressionist paintings by Streeton included in the show. The picture depicts a trail presumably leading toward the Dandenong Ranges from Mount Eagle, east of the Yarra basin. Streeton's broad brushstrokes and tonal harmonies capture momentary effects of afternoon light and shadow on an autumnal landscape.
Road (to the) ranges
oil on cardboard
23.0 x 13.8 cm board; 51.0 x 35.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, incised "A Streeton". Not dated.
Gift of Robert Albert AO 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Shown in 6 exhibitions
The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, Buxton's Art Gallery, Melbourne, 17 Aug 1889 -
Shevill and Co. auction of paintings by Conder, Roberts, Streeton and others, Garraway's Rooms, Melbourne, 24 Oct 1889–Unknown
Sotheby's: fine Australian paintings including important colonial furniture, silver and the J. And J. Altmann art reference library, Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne, Melbourne, 14 Aug 1989 -
Sotheby's: fine Australian paintings including European paintings, drawings and prints, Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne, Melbourne, 19 Aug 1989 -
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 08 Dec 1995–12 Feb 1996
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 01 Mar 1996–14 Apr 1996
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 01 May 1996–16 Jun 1996
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 08 Jul 1996–25 Aug 1996
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 11 Oct 1996–24 Nov 1996
Australian Impressionism, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 31 Mar 2007–08 Jul 2007
Referenced in 6 publications
Terence Lane (Editor), Australian Impressionism, Melbourne, 2007, 177 (colour illus.), 333. cat.no. 9.45
Geoffrey Smith, Arthur Streeton, 1867-1943, 'Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide: Melbourne 1867-90', pg. 11-66, South Yarra, 1995, 38, 38 (colour illus.). cat.no. 12
Smith & Singer (Compilator), Sotheby's: Fine Australian paintings including European paintings, drawings and prints, Armadale, 1991, n.pag. (colour illus.). lot no. 256; titled 'Road (to the) ranges'; estimated price $30,000/40,000
Smith & Singer (Compilator), Fine Australian paintings including important colonial furniture, silver and the J. And J. Altmann art reference library, Prahran, 1989, n.pag. (colour illus.). lot no. 316; titled 'Road (to the) ranges'; estimated price $100,000/150,000
David Thomas, Deutscher and Hackett fine art auction: Sydney 28 August 2013, 'Arthur Streeton', pg. 74-75, Melbourne, Aug 2013, 74, 75. Related work: 'A road to the Kurrajong' c1896 (also known as 'Summer heat')
Author Unknown, 9 x 5: Exhibition of Impressions, Melbourne, 1889, 4. cat.no. 38; priced 3 guineas