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Arthur Streeton, one of our greatest landscape painters, was a co-founder of the Heidelberg School with such famous names as Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Louis Abrahams.
They were intent on educating the middle classes to the fact that the bright blue and gold of the Australian landscape, though far different from the customary greys and soft greens of Europe, was beautiful in its own right Painting at sites including Box Hill, Mentone and Heidelberg, they created an important local market for Australian art.
Born in 1867 at Mount Duneed, near Geelong in Victoria, Arthur Ernest Streeton was the fourth of seven children of school teacher Charles Streeton and wife Mary.
His works show his love of nature, and he delighted in mighty, panoramic vistas drawn with vigorous, instantly recognisable, square brushstrokes. Streeton was heavily influenced by the teachings of Louis Buvelot, the works of Corot, Millet and J. M. W. Turner, the French Impressionists, and the Glasgow School of artists.
A restless soul, Streeton travelled widely, living and working in London and roaming throughout Europe and the US.
The Australian base for him and wife Esther, a professional violinist, was five idyllic acres at Olinda, where he painted local domestic scenes and many still life works, especially of his roses.
He enjoyed his rose garden so much he regretted his painting took him away from it. Indeed, he wrote for The Argus as both an art critic and a rose expert. His only other lament was that he never mastered the human figure.
Arthur Streeton was knighted in 1937 and after Esther died the following year, he spent his final days quietly painting, listening to classical music and reading.
He died at Olinda in 1943.