'Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide'
Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sir Arthur Ernest Streeton (1867-1943) was born on 8 April 1867 at Duneed, Victoria, fourth of five children of Charles Henry Streeton, schoolteacher, and his wife Mary, née Johnson, whom Charles had met on his voyage from England in 1854 and married in 1857 on his appointment to Queenscliff. The family moved to Melbourne in 1874 when Charles joined the administrative staff of the Education Department. They settled at Richmond and Arthur attended the Punt Road State School until 1880 when he became a junior clerk in the office of Rolfe & Co., importers, of Bourke Street.
As a child Arthur liked to draw and sketch in water-colour. He enrolled in night classes at the National Gallery of Victoria School of Design in 1882-87 and in 1886 his skill at sketching led to his being apprenticed as a lithographer to Charles Troedel & Co., of Collins Street. Streeton's first independently published black-and-white work, 'His First Snake', appeared in the Australasian Sketcher of 24 January 1889. He had no formal instruction in painting; his earliest extant oils date from 1884 and at this stage he was largely self-taught; he used such manuals as William Morris Hunt's Talks About Art (1877) which urged the emulation of plein air French painters Jean Millet and Camille Corot.
Inspired by his reading, Streeton wrote to the compiler of Hunt's book for photographs of Corot's work. In the summer of 1886 Streeton met Tom Roberts at Mentone. Seeing his work 'full of light and air', Roberts asked him to join a painting group which included Frederick McCubbin and Louis Abrahams. In their company Streeton continued to work on the problems of light and heat and space and distance which had already absorbed him. With the sale of 'Settler's Camp' and 'Pastoral', both exhibited with the Victorian Artists' Society in 1888, he was able to paint full time: for the next two years he worked at Box Hill and Heidelberg with his artist friends who now included Charles Conder, and also in the city where he did portraits and studies of the Yarra River and its bridges. A camp established at an old house at Eaglemont, overlooking the Yarra valley near Heidelberg, became the focus of their artistic fellowship. Streeton and Conder supplemented their income by giving painting lessons to young women; at weekends artists and students visited to paint and picnic beneath the pines.
(Ann E. Galbally at adb.anu.edu.au)
Troops marching in the centre of Boulogne, 1918
Mount St Quentin, 1918
Current Loc Melbourne Museum
Arthur Streeton was appointed an official war artist by the Commonwealth Government of Australia in May 1918. He arrived in France shortly after his appointment and was sent to a training school at Boulogne where he was taught how to use a gas mask. Streeton was employed to produce at least 25 drawings and watercolours, and one large painting of a battle scene or other Australian Imperial Force involvement. In just over six months he was prolific, producing numerous drawings and watercolour studies on site, and completed works in his studio in London.
Troops marching in the centre of Boulogne, 1918, depicts troops marching in the centre of Boulogne. Although many of Streeton’s war paintings concentrated on the landscape, this picture represents the machinery of war, both human and mechanical.
Tea in the Garden, Grange Road 1930
After the war, Streeton resumed painting in the Grampians and Dandenong Ranges. Streeton built a house on five acres (20,000 m²) at Olinda in the Dandenongs where he continued to paint. He won the Wynne Prize in 1928 with Afternoon Light, Goulburn Valley. He was an art critic for The Argus from 1929 to 1935 and in 1937 was knighted for services to the arts. He married Esther Leonora Clench, a Canadian violinist, in 1908. Streeton died in September 1943. He is buried at Fern Tree Gully cemetery. Streeton Primary School in the Melbourne suburb of Yallambie is named after Streeton.
(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)