John Russell: Australia’s French impressionist

John Russell: Australia’s French impressionist


Left to right: John Russell Madame Sisley on the banks of the Loing at Moret 1887, Art Gallery of New South Wales; John Russell Vincent van Gogh 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Left to right: John Russell, Madame Sisley on the banks of the Loing at Moret, 1887, Art Gallery of New South Wales; John Russell, Vincent van Gogh, 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

A major survey of this extraordinary yet little-known Australian painter.

Working in Europe at the end of the 19th century, John Russell (1858–1930) was part of the French avant-garde and the only Australian painter to have been closely associated with some of the most original and influential artists in France.

He was a close friend of Van Gogh and Rodin, dined with Monet and taught impressionist colour theory to Matisse. Yet, despite the efforts of fellow Australian artist Thea Proctor, his cousin, he remains little known.

This major survey presents the breadth of Russell’s art from his studies in London and Paris, through impressionism and experimentation with pure colour, to his later fauve-like luminous watercolours.

Bringing together approximately 100 paintings, drawings and watercolours, this is the first survey of Russell’s work in 40 years. It presents fresh perspectives on this remarkable artist and includes significant works only rediscovered recently and exhibited publicly for the first time.

(Photo: Left to right: John Russell, Madame Sisley on the banks of the Loing at Moret, 1887, Art Gallery of New South Wales; John Russell Vincent van Gogh, 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation))

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