New Zealand, Australia
16 Dec 1882 - 17 Oct 1939
Awarded the Wynne Prize in 1919 and painted the same year as Roland Wakelin's and Roy de Maistre's experiments in colour harmony, 'Spring frost' is one of Elioth Gruner's most critically acclaimed achievements. With its impeccable sense of light and tone, and its vigorous foreground brushwork, 'Spring frost' is a tour de force, and perhaps the most loved Australian landscape painting in the Gallery.
Elioth Gruner painted 'Spring frost' according to 19th-century plein-air conventions, but the work also demonstrates a contemporary succinctness of form. To complete the painting - one of his largest compositions - en plein air, Gruner built a structure to protect the canvas from the weather, and wrapped his legs with chaff bags to avoid frostbite. Although painted largely outdoors at Emu Plains, its large size and somewhat theatrical quality make it likely that Gruner completed parts of it later, in his city studio.
This work was acquired by the Gallery in 1939.
oil on canvas
131.0 x 178.7 cm stretcher; 157.5 x 206.7 x 14.0 cm frame + 25mm back build-up
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., black oil "E GRUNER/ 1919".
Gift of F G White 1939
Where the work was made
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1919), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 04 Oct 1919–20 Oct 1919
Loan exhibition of the works of Elioth Gruner (1932), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Dec 1932–21 Feb 1933
100 years of Australian painting (1948), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Apr 1948–17 May 1948
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
A century of Australian landscape painting: mood and moment:
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
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:
Referenced in 52 publications
Renée Free. European Collection 1., Art Gallery of New South Wales collection series, 'Pierre Bonnard: Self-portrait in the dressing-room mirror', Sydney, 1981, (illus.).
Herbert Badham, A gallery of Australian art, 'Introduction', pg. v-vii., Sydney, 1954, xii, xv, (colour illus.). plate no. 28
Geoffrey Batchen, Art Network, 'Gruner in retrospect', pg.8-11, Artarmon, Spring 1983, 8 (colour illus.).
Michaela Boland., Weekend Australian, 'Master cards', pg. 9, Sydney, 07 Sep 2013, 9.
Shane Breynard, Elioth Gruner: the texture of light, 'Director's foreword', pg. 7-8, Canberra, 2014, 7, 29, 33 (colour illus.), 34, 89, 95, 100.
Natasha Bullock, Look, 'Shedding Light, photographs by the great Harold Cazneaux are seen in a new light alongside paintings of the time', pg.13, Melbourne, Aug 2001, 13.
Helen Campbell, Look, 'Drysdale textile design... and other surprising 'rediscoveries'', pg. 30, Sydney, Aug 2014, 30.
a Special Correspondent, Argus, 'Sydney day by day', pg. 6, Melbourne, 09 Oct 1919, 6.
Bob Evans, Good Weekend, 'The pictures our galleries don't show', pg. 34-40, Ultimo, 25 Jun 1988, 39. Sydney Morning Herald supplement
Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'Art of federation', pg. 174-185, Carlton, 2013, 183 (colour illus.), 548, 561. plate no. 18.6
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 135 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Milking works for a moment in the sun', pg. 13, Sydney, 03 Apr 2002, 13 (illus.). Review of 'Parallel Visions' exhibition
Judy Jones, The Arms Chronicle, 'Elioth Gruner and the Innes family of Emu Plains', pg. 5-6, Penrith, Sep 2013, 5 (colour illus.), 6. part 2
Judy Jones, The Arms Chronicle, 'Elioth Gruner and the Innes family of Emu Plains', pg. 5-6, Penrith, Aug 2013, 6. part 1
Lou Klepac, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Hans Heysen / Elioth Gruner / Horace Trennery', pg. 32-47, Sydney, 2002, 13 (colour illus., detail), 40, 41 (colour illus.), 143, 147.
J. S. MacDonald., Australasian post, 'Gruner exhibition', Melbourne, 21 Jan 1933, unknown. Exhibition review
Alicia Parlby, Look, 'Gruner lives! Old works a hit with young viewers', pg. 12, Sydney, Dec 2003-Jan 2004, 12.
Barry Pearce, The Wynne prize: an Australian landscape tradition, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-9, Sydney, 1986, 9, 17 (colour illus.), 25.
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 24 (illus.).
Ursula Prunster, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Home and abroad', pg. 73-74, Sydney, 2000, 74, 101 (colour illus.), 300.
Robin Robertson., The Weekend Australian financial review, 'ABN Amro teaches the art of "quiet" sponsorship', Sydney, 05 Aug 2000-06 Aug 2000, page unknown (colour illus.).
Leanne Santoro, Look, 'Into the light', Sydney, Jan 2017-Feb 2017, 28-29 (colour illus.). 'Anatomy of an artwork' feature
Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 8. cat.no. 34
Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia, 'Australian collection', pg. 52-62, Sydney, Jul 1972, 55 (colour illus.).
Beatrice Tildesley, Sydney mail, 'The Gruner exhibition at the National Art Gallery', pg. 17, Sydney, 28 Dec 1932, 17. Exhibition review.
Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, ‘New Australia’, pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 24 (colour illus.), 26.
The Sydney morning herald, 'Wynne art prize: 1919 award to Mr Gruner', pg. 7, Sydney, 19 Aug 1920, 7.
Look, 'Great Uncle Jim', pg. 10, Sydney, Dec 2007-Jan 2008, 10 (colour illus.).
In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 2002, 60 (colour illus.).
Seeking the Centre, 'Seeing red: from topography to imagery', pg. 161-183, Cambridge, 1998, 162.
Art & Mind, Melbourne, 1998, 44 (colour illus.). plate no. 3.18
Wynne centenary 1897-1997: a selection of past winners from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, (colour illus.).
Look, Heidelberg, May 1996, 3 (colour illus.).
The Art Gallery of New South Wales Bulletin, 'Close-Ups of the Collection', pg. 35, Sydney, May 1996-Jul 1996, 35 (colour illus.).
In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 1995, 76 (colour illus.).
Roy and Matilda - The Golden Locket, Canterbury, 1994, (colour illus.).
AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 28 (colour illus.).
National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, 'Art versus Nature', pg. 38-51, Sydney, 1990, 47. plate no. 53
Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian Art in the Old Courts', pg. 24-37, Sydney, 1984, 36, 37 (colour illus.).
A century of Australian landscape: mood and moment, Sydney, 1983, 15, 62, 63 (colour illus.). cat.no. 42
Elioth Gruner 1882-1939, Sydney, 1983, 15 (colour illus.), , 19, 20, 39. cat.no. 26
100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 128, 129 (colour illus.). plate no. 61
Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 96 (colour illus.).
Loan exhibition of the works of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, 1932. cat.no. 83; Collection F.G. White Esq.
The Sydney morning herald, 'Elioth Gruner', pg. 14, Sydney, 16 Dec 1922, 14.
The art of Elioth Gruner, Sydney, , (colour illus.). plate no. VII; Collection: F.G. White, Esq.; not paginated
The Queenslander, 'Literature: Society of Artists' exhibition', pg. 3, Brisbane, 24 Jul 1920, 3.
The Sydney morning herald, 'The Wynne art prize, 1919', pg. 5, Sydney, 01 Dec 1919, 5.
Daily telegraph, Sydney, 03 Oct 1919.
The Sydney morning herald, 'Society of Artists: a strong Spring show', pg. 6, Sydney, 03 Oct 1919, 6.
Evening news, Sydney, 02 Oct 1919.
Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Strangers in the Motherland', pg. 5-19, Carlton, 2002, 8, 35.