Eugene von Guérard landed in 1852 to take his share in the gold rush. In 1855 he found it more lucrative to exploit his artistic training. He now travels in all directions inside the new colony to make sketches of the landscapes already transformed by the colonists. He then paints the oils on canvas in his studio for the use and vanity of the rich owners.
On August 30 in Sydney, Deutscher and Hackett sells Mr John King's Station, oil on canvas 40 x 84 cm painted in 1861 from sketches made on that property in November of the previous year. It is estimated AUD 800K, lot 10. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
The art of von Guérard glorifies these very new conquests of civilization. What is important here is not the horizon treated in a Humboldtian rigor but the garden and the field that retreat the boundaries of wilderness. His themes and compositions are reminiscent of Frans Post's didactic paintings in Brazil two centuries earlier.
Two small groups in a resolutely opposite attitude populate the Station in a direct evocation of their clash of cultures which is rare in the art of von Guérard.
Far away but in full light Mr King and his gardener cultivate their roses. In the foreground an Aboriginal family group is in the shade. They gave up their resistance to the white man but ignore the agriculture. Among them the little crouching girl reaches out towards a dead parrot that was probably carried by the dog. The preparatory drawing of this child is identified : it was made in 1855 by the artist near Adelaide.
SOLD for AUD 1.6M before fees