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


The hills behind Hermannsburg

circa 1954


Otto Pareroultja


1914 – 12 Aug 1973

Language group: Western Arrernte, Central Desert region

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Hermannsburg Northern Territory Australia
    circa 1954
    Media category
    Materials used
    watercolour on paper
    31.0 x 52.0 cm image; 51.0 x 70.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.c., watercolour "Otto Pareroultja". Not dated.

    Purchased 1996
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Otto Pareroultja/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Otto Pareroultja

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Otto Pareroultja and his brothers Reuben and Edwin worked and painted at the Lutheran Hermannsburg Mission west of Mparntwe (Alice Springs). Initially influenced by their countryman, Albert Namatjira, and by Rex Battarbee, the Melbourne watercolourist who worked closely with the Hermannsburg artists, the Pareroultja brothers developed their own distinctive styles. In their paintings, the desert landscape is less representational than in Namatjira's work, and is animated by their use of vigorous, sinuous lines, dynamic areas of repeated patterning and strong colours massed together.

    These elements are clearly evident in Pareroultja’s c1954 painting 'The hills behind Hermannsburg', which explores the common Hermannsburg school motif of a white ghost gum in front of a distant mountain range. The painting has a graphic quality, rendered in Pareroultja’s customary high-keyed colour contrasted with distinctive black line-work. His use of brilliant yellow highlights and unpainted areas of white paper add luminosity to the landscape, emphasising the clarity of central Australian light. This vibrant approach to painting has had a strong influence on Ivy Pareroultja, Edwin’s daughter, who is currently leading a revival of the Hermannsburg painting style.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Otto Pareroultja