Painters of the past
Painters of the past: colonial art and Geelong provides a broad overview of the artistic evolution of the Geelong community from the 1850s onwards.
Situated in a fertile, picturesque area, with a strong, thriving wool industry, the town attracted an increasing number of people, including artists, to its commercial centre. The natural growth of the town, indeed the colony, was, however, greatly precipitated by the Victorian gold discoveries of 1851. Victoria's ports saw an enormous influx of migrants to the colony, and the population of coastal shipping towns swelled and subsided in dramatic numbers. Those who joined the gold rush came from a variety of backgrounds, and inevitably included artists.
Heralding the increasing number of those artists to arrive in Geelong during this period were William Duke, Amos Downing, Eugene von Guerard and ST Gill, who were sufficiently impressed by the landscape and the overt signs of the prosperity of the town. Their works dd considerably to the perception and understanding of art production taking place in Geelong soon after its establishment, up to the 1890s.
Painters of the past was part of a series of exhibitions which examined the development of colonial Geelong: Geelong's lost images 1985; Geelong on exhibition: a photographic image 1987; Geelong's colonial silversmiths 1988; and Alexander Webb 1813–1982 1989.