Curator insights: Lisa Sullivan—Frederick McCubbin—Whisperings in wattle boughs


Hear from Geelong Gallery Senior Curator, Lisa Sullivan, as she shares her insights into Frederick McCubbin—Whisperings in wattle boughs. Join Lisa as she delves deeper into several works in the exhibition and takes us on a journey into the Mount Macedon landscape that inspired the artists’ work.

In the Gallery’s 125th anniversary year, this exhibition celebrates the first major work to enter the collection in 1900: Frederick McCubbin’s A bush burial (1890). Made possible through public subscription, this exceptional acquisition and moment in the institution’s history is marked by bringing A bush burial into dialogue with a tightly focused selection of other iconic McCubbin works in which he elaborates and redefines the Australian bush and the human subjects within it. Frederick McCubbin—Whisperings in wattle boughs brings together McCubbin’s key ‘pioneer’ subjects and additional paintings that elaborate the artist’s unending fascination with the colour and nature of the bush, sourced from national and state institutions, regional Victorian galleries and private collections.

This in-focus exhibition will also include portraits by McCubbin of some of the subjects—often family and friends—that populate his enduring great narrative pictures. The exhibition title acknowledges the inspiration McCubbin took from the poetry of Adam Lindsay Gordon, the unique beauty of the Australian bush and the rich stories that emerge from it.

Discover more about Frederick McCubbin—Whisperings in wattle boughs

Frederick McCubbin—Whisperings in wattle boughs is showing exclusively at Geelong Gallery until Sunday 13 February 2022.