- Other Titles
- Figtree on American Creek near Wollongong
A figtree on American Creek near Wollongong, N.S.W.
- Media category
- Materials used
- oil on canvas
- 83.7 x 66.1 cm stretcher; 105.5 x 86.8 x 9.0 cm frame
- Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, red oil "Eugen von Guérard 1861".
- Purchased 1996
- Grand Courts
- Accession number
- Artist information
Eugene von Guérard
Works in the collection
Eugene von Guérard visited American Creek, on
Dharawal Country, near Wollongong in 1859. He noted
the early destruction of the magnificent subtropical
cabbage-tree palm forests in the area. What had long
been an important natural resource and food source
for the Dharawal people was being felled in the colonial
pursuits of agriculture, timber and coal mining. Von
Guérard nonetheless filled his sketchbooks with images
of the luscious, dense abundance of the forest and its
diverse plant life.
In this painting, von Guérard depicts an evocative
portrait of the interconnecting forces of the forest, the
weaving of roots and plants and the links between the
canopies and the plant growths of the under storey. The
central image of the fig tree supporting the eucalypt
refers to the interrelated ecological systems sustaining
the forest that von Guérard was alert to. Today the
significance of this painting might delve further, alluding
to the magnificently intricate underground networks that
we know to collaborate with the wealth of life above.
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Victorian exhibition of fine arts (1861), Studio of Charles Summers, Melbourne, 1861–1861
Eugene von Guérard, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jun 1980–Jul 1980
Eugene von Guérard, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, Aug 1980–Aug 1980
Eugene von Guérard, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat, Sep 1980–Oct 1980
Eugene von Guérard, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Nov 1980–Nov 1980
Eugene von Guérard, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, Dec 1980–Jan 1981
The Illawarra & environs: a pictorial survey, Wollongong Art Gallery, Wollongong, 09 Jun 1988–31 Jul 1988
Illawarra: The garden of New South Wales, Wollongong Art Gallery, Wollongong, 25 Nov 1994–08 Jan 1995
Eugene von Guérard: nature revealed, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 16 Apr 2011–07 Aug 2011
Eugene von Guérard: nature revealed, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 17 Dec 2011–04 Mar 2012
Eugene von Guérard: nature revealed, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 27 Apr 2012–15 Jul 2012
Conquest of space: science fiction and contemporary art, College of Fine Art Galleries, UNSW, , 22 May 2014–05 Jul 2014
Shaded, Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, Dubbo, 28 Aug 2017–03 Dec 2017
Grand Courts Collection Rehang, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 2021–2025
Referenced in 28 publications
Candice Bruce, Eugen von Guérard, Canberra, 1980, 51, 58 (colour illus.), 59, 104 (illus.).
Candice Bruce, Art and Australia (Vol. 18, No. 2), 'Eugen von Guérard and the Hudson River School: Romantics in the wilderness', pg. 158-164, Sydney, Summer 1980, 161 (colour illus.), 162.
Candice Bruce, Edward Cornstock and Frank McDonald, Eugene von Guérard: A German Romantic in the Antipodes, Martinborough, 1982, 31, 32, 176, 122, 215 (colour illus.). cat.no. 62; plate no. 27
Peter Cochrane, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Three for the gallery', pg. 16, Sydney, 20 Sep 1996, 16.
Stephen Dover, Illawarra heritage: an introduction to a region, Wollongong, 1983, 19, 24, 37-43. General reference
Barron Field, Geographical memoirs on New South Wales, 'Chapter III: Journal of an excursion to the five islands and Shoval Haven, on the coast of New South Wales', London, 1825. General reference of topography encountered
Christine France., The Illawarra & environs: a pictorial survey, 'Introduction', Wollongong, 1988. cat.no. 40; titled 'Figtree, Amerikan Creek near Wollongong'; collection: private collection loan to City of Hamilton Art Gallery
Andrew Frost, Conquest of space: science fiction and contemporary art, 'The engine of experience: contemporary art and SF', pg. 5-7, Sydney, 2014, 5, 11 (colour illus.), 43.
Christopher Heathcote, Art Monthly Australia, ‘When science meets art: Humboldt, von Guérard and the Australian wilderness’, pg. 27-31, Canberra, Nov 2001, 27-31.
Terry Ingram, Art and Australia (Vol. 34, No. 3), 'Immovable heritage', pg. 380-381, Sydney, 1997, 380 (illus.), 381.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 106 (colour illus.).
Gael Newton, Shades of Light - Photography and Australia 1839-1988, 'Amateurs and professionals flourish: 1858', Sydney, 1988, 26, 30, 33. General reference to early photography in Australia
C.F. Nicholls (Editor), Victorian men of the time, Melbourne, 1877, 75.
Ken Orchard, Illawarra: the garden of New South Wales, ‘The landscape Artists’, pg. 7-27, Wollongong, 1994, 20, 23 ( illus.), 41. cat.no. 70
Michael Organ, Conrad Martens in Illawarra, 1835: in search of the picturesque /, New South Wales, 1987. References artist working in the area
Ruth Pullin, Eugene von Guérard: nature revealed, 'The geography of plants', pg. 154-173, Melbourne, 2011, 161 (colour illus.), 163, 290.
Dianne Reilly and Jennifer Carew, Sun pictures of Victoria: the Fauchery-Daintree collection, 1858, South Yarra, 1983, 9, 12, 13, 76, 77. General reference to early photography in Australia
Rod Ritchie, Red cedar in Australia, 'The red cedar timber industry in New South Wales and Queensland', pg. 42-59, Glebe, 2004, 44-49. General reference
Rod Ritchie, Seeing the rainforests in 19th-century Australia, 'Green tangle of the brushes', pg. 65-90, Sydney, 1989, 75-77, 84 (colour illus.), 159. Private Collection, Victoria. On loan to the City of Hamilton Art Gallery.
Anne Ryan, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Colonial eyes', pg. 17-36, Sydney, 2000, 18, 28 (colour illus.), 300.
G.P. Smith (Editor), Age, Melbourne, 03 Oct 1864.
Charles Summers, Catalogue of the Victorian exhibition of fine arts, Melbourne, 1861, 4. cat.no. 15; titled 'A Fig Tree on the American Creek, near Wollongong, NSW'.
Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, 'Close-Ups of the Collection', pg. 6, Heidelberg, Nov 1997, 6 (illus.).
Marjorie Tipping, Eugen von Guérard's Australian Landscapes, Melbourne, 1975, 19-23, 66, 72, 106.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Argus, Melbourne, 03 Oct 1861, 5.
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Melbourne leader: a weekly journal of news, politics and literature, 'Eugene von Guerard’, pg. 24, Melbourne, 06 Jul 1867, 24. ‘Figtree on the American Creek, Wollongong’, for Henry Youngman, Esq., is listed as one of a group of principle pictures painted by the artist in Melbourne since 1854.
Editor Unknown, The Melbourne leader: a weekly journal of news, politics and literature, 'Victorian Art exhibition', pg. 12, Melbourne, 05 Oct 1861, 12.
Author Unknown, Illustrated Australian News - Supplement, 27 Jul 1867, 8-13.
Other works by Eugene von Guérard
Lower part of the Castle Rock below the Lighthouse, Cape Schanck, Victoria Eugene von Guérard 1873 20.2011 On display – Grand Courts
See all 10 works