An exchange of treasures—Roberts and McCubbin from the Art Gallery of Ballarat
These two exceptional works by Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin are on loan from the Art Gallery of Ballarat, offered in recognition of Geelong Gallery’s loan to Ballarat—until the end of May this year—of three treasured paintings by Eugene von Guérard.
The Geelong Gallery’s three works—Aborigines met on the road to the diggings 1854, View of Geelong 1856, View from Fritz Wilhelmberg, Herne Hill, Geelong 1860 (formerly Mr Levien’s hut on the Barwon, but recently retitled due to new research)—are central to Eugene von Guérard: artist–traveller, a major exhibition that looks at von Guérard’s numerous trips into the Western District, his sketches, and the important paintings he then worked up in his studio. Geelong Gallery’s pictures are essential inclusions in this new examination of von Guérard’s remarkable and intrepid journeys through our region’s landscape, and the exhibition presents an opportunity for these works to be seen in the context of the artist’s broader practice.
Similarly, this exchange of works by Roberts and McCubbin from the Art Gallery of Ballarat creates a dialogue between the two paintings and with works by the two artists in our own collection: Roberts’s Portrait of Charles James Howard 1889 on the adjacent wall, and McCubbin’s A bush burial 1890 and Hillside, Macedon 1904.
Unlike their grand national landscape subjects for which they received significant acclaim, both the Roberts and the McCubbin paintings from the Art Gallery of Ballarat are charming, yet no less important, examples of domestic subjects imbued with an emotional register.