for the Nation Fund
26 November 2005 – 5 February 2006
In May 2003 the National Gallery of Australia established an annual fundraising appeal — Masterpieces for the Nation Fund — to grow the existing support for the Gallery’s acquisition and exhibitions programs. To date the fund has received contributions from more than 100 supporters, and William Robinson’s Creation landscape — fountains of the Earth 2002 is the initial work purchased with this assistance.
Dr Brian Kennedy, Director of the NGA, states:
‘The National Gallery has waited patiently in recent years for a major work by Bill Robinson. Creation landscape is the painting we have been waiting for — a superb, majestic panorama from daybreak to moonlight across the tropical rainforest, all in one picture. This is a truly grand painting by a great Australian landscape painter.'
William Robinson was born in 1936 and grew up in Brisbane, where he undertook studies at the Queensland Teachers’ College and the Central Technical College. After graduating, Robinson began his teaching career, and painted part-time during the ensuing years while raising his family with wife Shirley. He left teaching to become a full-time painter in 1989. Robinson moved from being a classically trained artist with a love of colour who painted interiors, to an artist who enthusiastically embraced the visual possibilities of rural life, and his work later evolved into a much more expansive and complex vision of the natural world. He has emerged as a major force in Australian art and has been described as one of the most important Australian landscape artists of the late 20th century. He has proven himself to be tremendously popular with the general public, and has also received considerable critical acclaim in recent years. He has twice won both the Archibald Prize for portraiture, and the Wynne Prize for landscape painting.
Measuring almost five metres in length Creation landscape — fountains of the Earth is a breathtaking work. The viewer is drawn into the painting as an active participant; as though to imaginatively, viscerally and spiritually experience the different moods of the rainforest surroundings in which Robinson has lived and worked over many years.
The journey begins in the morning with sun shining through the trees in the bottom left hand corner of the painting; its gentle diaphanous rays enlivening the dense forest. The central areas of the painting include trees encountered from multiple viewpoints, so characteristic of Robinson’s rainforest landscapes. The rainforest itself is depicted in great detail, which helps to convey a simultaneously ancient and burgeoning environment, with its natural diversity, lush growth, mature trunks, myriad tendril roots, soft sprouting tree ferns and delicate mosses. The right side of the work moved out to a moonlight seascape and a starry night sky peeping through the trees in the very bottom right of the painting. Flowing out of the centre of the work is a stream of water as well as a pool or ‘fountain’ nourishing the Earth.
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12 October 2003
Masterpieces for the Nation
The inaugural National Gallery of Australia Masterpieces for the Nation appeal.
Over the past few years, the Gallery’s Foundation has been successful in raising very significant funds from private individuals for the acquisition of major works of art. We wish to grow this support and have established an appeal to assist the Gallery’s acquisition and exhibition programs.
Contributors to our first Masterpieces for the Nation Fund helped the Gallery to aim high with important acquisitions in 2003/04 and an exciting program of exhibitions: Sari to Sarong based on the Gallery’s collection of Indonesian textiles; French Paintings from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier; and The Edwardians: Secrets & Desires