Arcadia, South Sea Islands 1882 signed and dated 'N. Chevalier 1882' lower left oil on canvas 58 x 41cm (22 13/16 x 16 1/8in).
EXHIBITED: London, Royal Academy, 1882, no.555
In 1883 Chevalier exhibited the pendant to the current work, entitled Sunny Clime, Tahiti, at the Royal Academy (no.835). Both these works' subjects were taken from the artist's 1880 painting Race to the market, Tahiti which currently hangs in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The figure, dog, still life of fruit and the setting of Opunohu Bay, Tahiti in the current work are identical to that in the 1880 work.
Nicholas Chevalier was one of the first academically trained artists to come to Australia, and enjoyed great success both in the country and abroad. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society of Fine Arts, and in 1864 was awarded the government prize for the best picture by an artist resident in Australia. The picture which earned him this merit, The Buffalo Ranges, was purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria.
In 1869 Chevalier left Australia on the royal yacht Galatea in the company of the Duke of Edinburgh. Chevalier had been a member of the entourage for His Royal Highness's tour of Victoria and Tasmania that began in 1867. Galatea sailed the Pacific and Indian oceans for a year, providing Chevalier with rich and exotic scenery that inspired his work for years to come.
Image credit: Nicholas Chevalier, Race to the market, Tahiti, 1880, oil on canvas, 102 x 169 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (Purchased 1881)