We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Ayers Rock



Robert Hughes

Australia, United States of America

28 Jul 1938 – 06 Aug 2012

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Northern Territory Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    watercolour on white wove paper
    31.0 x 41.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed with dated l.r. corner verso on backboard, green crayon “R.H./ ‘99”.

    Gift of Doris Downes in memory of her husband Robert Hughes 2012
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Robert Hughes

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The subject of Hughes’ watercolour is Uluru. Its low mid-distance viewpoint, boldly-washed colour and quirky cloud-strewn sky, bring a fresh, lively perspective to this renowned landscape feature. It was made during the artist’s visit to Australia in 1999 to film for a documentary series entitled 'Beyond the fatal shore', prior to the serious car accident that nearly claimed his life. Hughes carried with him a set of watercolours, paper and brushes to make ‘vignettes’ of the locations that inspired him during the trip.

    Born in Sydney in 1938, Robert Hughes studied arts then architecture at Sydney University, abandoning this after two years to pursue his aspirations as a painter and poet. He wrote and drew cartoons for various publications including Sydney’s The Observer, where he became art critic under editor Donald Horne. During the early 1960s he also held several solo exhibitions in Sydney and was included in Australian group exhibitions overseas. In 1966 he published 'The art of Australia' before moving to Europe then the USA and rising to prominence as art critic for Time magazine, historian and writer. His numerous television documentaries and books on the visual arts include 'The shock of the new' (1980), 'American visions' (1997) and 'Goya' (2003); while his book on early Australian convict history 'The fatal shore' (1987) is widely admired.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Northern Territory

Other works by Robert Hughes