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Australian art

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Morning light



Elioth Gruner

New Zealand, Australia

16 Dec 1882 - 17 Oct 1939


Often regarded as the last of the Australian impressionists, Elioth Gruner established his reputation as perhaps the country’s most accomplished and lyrical painter of light. While working as a draper’s assistant at Farmer’s department store, Gruner studied at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School, eventually becoming Ashton’s assistant at the school in 1914.

Early in his career, Gruner became inspired by influential Melbourne-based artist and tonal theorist Max Meldrum. The broken brushwork in the fore-ground of 'Morning light' also reflects the influence of E Phillips Fox, as well as the modernist experiments of his younger contemporaries Roland Wakelin and Grace Cossington Smith.

'Morning light' was awarded the 1916 Wynne Prize and immediately purchased by the trustees. It was the first work by Gruner to enter its collection. The work is hailed as the high point of Gruner’s Emu Plains series of 1915–19 and is one of his greatest masterpieces.


Other Title

The morning light

Place where the work was made

Emu Plains Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas on cardboard


40.6 x 45.1 cm board; 51.8 x 56.9 x 5.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black (oil?) "E. GRÜNER/1916".


Purchased 1916


Not on display

Accession number


Wynne Prize

Winner - 1916

Artist information

Elioth Gruner

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Emu Plains

Shown in 22 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 53 publications


Barry Pearce. Australian Collection 2., Art Gallery of New South Wales collection series, 'Elioth Gruner: Morning Light', Sydney, 1981, cover (colour illus.), back (illus.).

Jean Andrade., The New outlook [vol. 1, no. 8], 'Art Notes', Sydney, 12 Jul 1922.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australian collection 2, Sydney, 1981, (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Four Australian Painters: Streeton, Dobell, Gruner, Perth, 1960. 30

Julian Ashton and Norman Lindsay, The art of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, [1922], (colour illus.). plate no. X; not paginated

Australian Exhibition Commission, Catalogue: British Empire Exhibition (Wembley) 1924, 1924, 95. no catalogue numbers

BJW, Elioth Gruner memorial loan exhibition, 'Elioth Gruner', pg. 1-3, Sydney, 1940, 1, 3. 9

Dr Joseph Brown (Editor), The CBUS collection of Australian art, Melbourne, 2009, 41.

Basil Burdett., The Herald, 'Gruner, a poet in paint', Melbourne, 06 Jul 1940, (illus.).

Helen Campbell, Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, (colour illus.).

Helen Campbell, Look, 'Wynne Centenary', pg. 20-21, Heidelberg, Apr 1997, 21 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, I blame Duchamp: my life's adventures in art, 'John Bull and the Little Boy at Manly', pg. 321-333, Sydney, 2009, 331.

Deboarh Clark, Elioth Gruner: the texture of light, 'Elioth Gruner: the texture of light', pg. 9-89, Canberra, 2014, 26 (colour illus.), 29, 95, 100.

Dennis Colsey and Hal Missingham, One hundred years of Australian landscape painting: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1968, Sydney, 1968, 12, 13 (illus.). 11; titled 'The Morning Light'

Chris Deutscher, Australian modern masters and 19th & 20th century Australian and International Fine Art: Fine Art auction 3 & 4 May 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 100. reference to work in association with lot 62 'Bronte Beach'

Dominion Galleries, Retrospective Exhibition Julian Ashton Art School 1895–1965, Sydney, 1965. 13

Douglas Dundas, Art Gallery of New South Wales quarterly, 'The Wynne and Sulman prizes', pg. 53-56, Sydney, Jan 1961, 54.

Mary Eagle, Australian Modern Painting Between the Wars 1914-1939, 'Light in Sydney', pg. 30-41, Sydney, 1989, 38.

Renée Free, Lloyd Rees Retrospective, 'The Landscape of Lloyd Rees', pg. 4-13, Sydney, 1969, 7.

Leon Gellert., Sunday telegraph, 'Gruner ... apostle of the dawn', Sydney, 22 Jan 1967, unknown.

Elioth Gruner (Organiser), Catalogue of an exhibition of the works of Australian artists, Sydney, 1923. 56

Elioth Gruner (Organiser), The exhibition of Australian art to be held at the galleries of the Royal Academy London, 1923, Sydney, 1923. 45

Judy Jones, The Arms Chronicle, 'Elioth Gruner and the Innes family of Emu Plains', pg. 5-6, Penrith, Sep 2013, 5, 6. part 2

Judy Jones, The Arms Chronicle, 'Elioth Gruner and the Innes family of Emu Plains', pg. 5-6, Penrith, Aug 2013, 6 (colour illus.). part 1

Daryl Lindsay., Elioth Gruner memorial loan exhibition, 'Elioth Gruner (1882-1939)', Melbourne, 1940. 62

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 711; titled 'The morning light'.

Lionel Lindsay., Art in Australia [vol. 1, no. 4], '25 Years of Australian Art', Sydney, 1918.

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 79

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Loan exhibition of the works of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, 1932. 33; titled 'The Morning Light'

Alicia Parlby, Look, 'Gruner lives! Old works a hit with young viewers', pg. 12, Sydney, Dec 2003-Jan 2004, 12 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Elioth Gruner 1882-1939, Sydney, 1983, cover (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition, 'Introduction', pg. 6-9, Sydney, 1986, 6, 9, 11 (illus.), 19, 25.

Barry Pearce, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Introduction: Convergent Spirits', pg. 10-19, Sydney, 2002, 12, 40 (colour illus.), 143, 147.

Ursula Prunster, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Home and abroad', pg. 73-74, Sydney, 2000, 100 (colour illus.), 300.

Royal Institute of Painters Galleries, Artists of the British Empire Overseas Exhibition, London, 1937. 155

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'Spring frost corner', Sydney, Jan 2017-Feb 2017, 12-13 (colour illus.).

Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition, Sydney, 1916, (illus.).; titled 'Morning light'; priced 35gns

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, Heidelberg, Feb 1998, 4 (colour illus.).

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, Heidelberg, Mar 1998, 4 (colour illus.).

Daniel Thomas, Creating Australia: 200 years of art 1788-1988, 'Twentieth-Century Art: Culture', pg.146, Melbourne, 1988, 150 (colour illus.), 246.

Laurie Thomas (Editor), 200 Years of Australian painting, Rushcutters Bay, 1971, 35 (colour illus.).

Laurie Thomas (Editor), Jubilee exhibition of Australian art, Sydney, 1951, 36. 81; catalogue indicates the work is reproduced, however no reproduction appears

John Young and Henry Gibbons, The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition 1890-1933, Sydney, 1933, (colour illus.). 229

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Wynne art-prize award, 1916', pg. 16, Sydney, 25 Nov 1916, 16.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Society of artists', pg. 3, Sydney, 24 Nov 1916, 3.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art and Australia, 'Victorian favourites: a conversation - Elwyn Lynn and Lloyd Rees', pg. 49-56, Sydney, Spring 1984, 52.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Mercury, 'Clark art exhibition: notes on the artists: Elioth Gruner', pg. 3, Hobart, 08 Jul 1926, 3.

Unknown (Editor), Sun, 'Gruner's art: Gallery exhibition opens to-day', Sydney, 21 Dec 1932, unknown. Exhibition review

Editor Unknown, Australia beautiful: the home pictorial annual, Sydney, 1931, 23 (colour illus.). Easter

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Elioth Gruner', pg. 14, Sydney, 21 Oct 1939, 14.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The morning bulletin, 'Art in Australia', pg. 10, Rockhampton, 17 Mar 1919, 10.

The Queenslander, 'Seasonable gift books', pg. 3, Brisbane, 04 Jan 1919, 3.

Illustrated list of Australian prints published by Legend Press for School and Home use, Sydney, circa 1948, (colour illus.). F