Late Afternoon, The Sea and Mt Warning, 1996 signed and dated 'William Robinson 96' lower right oil on canvas 76.5 x 102cm (30 1/8 x 40 3/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney in July 1996
EXHIBITED: William Robinson, Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, 28 June - 24 July 1996, cat. no. 15 William Robinson - A Retrospective, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 31 August 2001 - 11 November 2001; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 7 December 2001 - 10 March 2002 William Robinson: The Revelation of Landscape, National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 11 January - 2 March 2003; Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria, 28 March - 18 May 2003; University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, 27 February - 3 April 2004 Laverty 2, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011
LITERATURE: William Robinson, exh. cat., Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, 1996, cat. no. 15, p.12 (illus.) Lynne Seear, Darkness & Light, The Art of William Robinson, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2001, pl. 81, pp.29 & 143 (illus.) Deborah Hart, 'William Robinson: A Retrospective', National Gallery of Australia magazine Artonview, issue 28, summer 2001 - 2002, p.39 (illus.)
By 1994 William Robinson was known and admired for his unique paintings of the Queensland rainforest. At this point he surprised everyone by producing a series of pictures of the coastline and the sea. The immediate stimulus was the purchase of a house in Kingscliff, on the far north coast of New South Wales.
Robinson began to explore and analyse this new environment with the same thoroughness he had brought to his studies of the rainforest. From the simplest elements of sea and sky he fashioned vast panoramas such as Dark tide, Bogangar (1994), now in the collection of the Queensland Art Gallery. Soon he would embark on one of his most ambitiousworks, Creation landscape: Earth and sea (1996), (awarded the Wynne Prize for landscape that year), which sweeps us from the forest and mountains to the ocean. In both these paintings Robinson showed the curvature of the earth, blending a view of the landscape with a vision of the cosmos.
Late afternoon, the sea and Mt. Warning is another painting of the coast near Kingscliff, in which the elements seethe and boil in apocalyptic fashion. One thinks inevitably of J.M.W.Turner, although thecolour and brushwork are more reminiscent of another favourite artist, Pierre Bonnard. Even by Robinson's standards, this work projects a tremendous emotional force. Despite its smaller scale it is an epic picture.