The hill of the creeping shadow
Germany, Australia, France
08 Oct 1877 - 02 Jul 1968
Hans Heysen first visited the Flinders Ranges in South Australia in 1926 and made numerous subsequent visits, producing a large number of drawings, watercolours and paintings of the area. Drawn to the dry, ancient land, so different to the bush and beachscapes and lyrical pastoral scenes usually depicted by Australian landscape artists at the time, Heysen was one of the first non-Aboriginal artists to create and exhibit a significant body of works of the Australian desert interior. His well-promoted images of the outback with its intense red and ochre colours and austere geological formations helped to introduce new meanings of the Australian landscape to the public, most of whom had never seen the country’s interior.
'It was in the Flinders Ranges that I was made curiously conscious of a very old land where the primitive forces of Nature were constantly evident. The barren hillsides, incised and torn by Nature’s forces, hold a peculiar attraction… It is a land for the draughtsman, and yet at times, it is also magnificently rich and varied in depths of colour and its range of colour schemes.'
Hans Heysen 1932
This work was a finalist in the 1929 Wynne Prize and was acquired by the Gallery in 1929.
From the Gallery Shop
The Hill of the Creeping Shadow, Flinders Ranges
oil on canvas
66.0 x 92.0 cm stretcher; 88.8 x 114.3 x 8.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "HANS HEYSEN/ 1929".
Not on display
© C Heysen
Shown in 10 exhibitions
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1929), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 07 Sep 1929–04 Oct 1929
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary (1962-63), National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 17 Mar 1962–31 Mar 1962
A century of Australian landscape painting: mood and moment:
Seeing is believing - the art in photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1985–19 Jan 1986
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Arid Arcadia: art of the Flinders Ranges, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 30 Aug 2002–03 Nov 2002
Hans Heysen Retrospective (2008-2010):
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 14 Nov 2008–08 Feb 2009
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 23 Apr 2009–21 Jun 2009
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 11 Jul 2009–02 Oct 2009
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 27 Nov 2009–14 Feb 2010
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 14 May 2010–07 Jul 2010
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 31 Jul 2010–24 Oct 2010
- Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle 19 Nov 2010–30 Jan 2011
Heysen/Heysen, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 08 Mar 2019–28 Jul 2019
Referenced in 15 publications
Lou Klepac, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Hans Heysen / Elioth Gruner / Horace Trennery', pg. 32-47, Sydney, 2002, 143.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Heysen to Heysen: letters across a generation’, pg. 33-36, Sydney, Mar 2012, 34 (colour illus.), 35.
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Earth, sky and paint', pg. 149-150, Sydney, 2000, 153 (colour illus.), 300.
Barry Pearce, Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, 'Introduction', pg.17-23 (in Japanese), Tokyo, 1992, 22, 159 (colour illus.), 183. cat.no. 102
Geoffrey Smith, Sidney Nolan: desert & drought, 'Introduction', pg. 8-11, Melbourne, 2003, 10 (colour illus.).
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. cat.no. 82
150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 304 [Gallery No. 3]
The Mercury, 'Loan pictures exhibition: three artists: Hans Heysen', pg. 6, Hobart, 19 Aug 1935, 6.
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1929), Sydney, 1929. cat.no. 100; titled 'The Hill of the Creeping Shadow, Flinders Ranges'; priced 250 guineas.
The Sydney morning herald, 'Society of Artists' exhibition at the Education Department', pg. 16, Sydney, 06 Sep 1929, 16 (illus).
A century of Australian landscape: mood and moment, Sydney, 1983, 16, 71 (colour illus.). cat.no. 49
Arid Arcadia: Art of the Flinders Ranges, 'The bones of nature laid bare': Heysen's revelation', pg. 66-85, Adelaide, 2002, 77 (colour illus.), 78, 187 (illus.).
Seeing is believing: the art in photography, 'Landscape & photography', Sydney, 1985. cat.no. 20; not paginated
Hans Heysen, 'The Flinders Ranges: 'A deviation in Australian landscape painting'', pg. 88-115, Adelaide, 2008, 89 (colour illus.), 133 (colour illus.).
The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1962: Special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary', Adelaide, 1962. not paginated, cat.no. 72