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.
The morning light
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".
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 22 exhibitions
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1916), Society Rooms, Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney, 25 Nov 1916–Dec 1916
Exhibition of Australian art (1923), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, Jun 1923 -
Exhibition of Australian Art (1923), Burlington House, 06 Oct 1923–03 Nov 1923
British Empire Exhibition (1924), Empire Stadium, Wembley, 23 Apr 1924–Oct 1925
Loan exhibition of the works of Elioth Gruner (1932), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Dec 1932–21 Feb 1933
The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition, 1890-1933, Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, 01 Mar 1933–28 Mar 1933
The Centenary art exhibition (1934), Commonwealth Bank Chambers, Melbourne, 08 Oct 1934 -
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
Elioth Gruner memorial loan exhibition (1940):
- National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 17 Apr 1940–31 May 1940
- National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne 05 Jul 1940–04 Aug 1940
Jubilee exhibition of Australian art:
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 12 Mar 1951–31 Mar 1951
- Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Launceston 09 Apr 1951–28 Apr 1951
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 25 Jun 1951–21 Jul 1951
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 06 Aug 1951–01 Sep 1951
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 24 Sep 1951–20 Oct 1951
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 12 Nov 1951–10 Dec 1951
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Four Australian Painters: Streeton, Dobell, Gruner, Boyd (1960), Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 05 Feb 1960–29 Feb 1960
Retrospective Exhibition Julian Ashton Art School 1895–1965 (1965), Dominion Galleries, Sydney, 1965 -
Elioth Gruner 1882-1939 (1983), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jul 1983–04 Sep 1983
The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition (1987):
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks 19 Dec 1986–01 Feb 1987
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 06 Mar 1987–29 Mar 1987
- Orange Regional Gallery, Orange 10 Apr 1987–17 May 1987
- Griffith Regional Art Gallery 03 Jun 1987–20 Jun 1987
- Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Australia 01 Jul 1987–26 Jul 1987
- Albury Regional Gallery, Albury 07 Aug 1987–06 Sep 1987
- Broken Hill City Art Gallery, Broken Hill 18 Sep 1987–26 Oct 1987
- Tamworth City Gallery, Tamworth 05 Nov 1987–13 Dec 1987
The great Australian art exhibition:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 17 May 1988–17 Jul 1988
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 13 Aug 1988–25 Sep 1988
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 21 Oct 1988–27 Nov 1988
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 21 Dec 1988–05 Feb 1989
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 01 Mar 1989–30 Apr 1989
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 23 May 1989–16 Jul 1989
Wynne Centenary: 1897–1997 (1997), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1997–11 May 1997
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Elioth Gruner: Light and landscape (2010), New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, 30 Oct 2010–06 Feb 2011
Elioth Gruner: the texture of light:
Fieldwork, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor, 17 Jul 2020–20 Sep 2020
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. cat.no. 30
Julian Ashton and Norman Lindsay, The art of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, , (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. cat.no. 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.). cat.no. 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. cat.no. 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. cat.no. 56
Elioth Gruner (Organiser), The exhibition of Australian art to be held at the galleries of the Royal Academy London, 1923, Sydney, 1923. cat.no. 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. cat.no. 62
Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 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. cat.no. 79
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Loan exhibition of the works of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, 1932. cat.no. 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. cat.no 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.). cat.no.115; 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. cat.no. 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.). cat.no. 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.). cat.no. F