Albert Namatjira (Australian, 1902-1959) A ghost gum on Washwood Stn. (Mt. Bowman) near Haasts Bluff, Central Australia sheet 28 x 39.1cm (11 x 15 3/8in)

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Lot 14
Albert Namatjira
(Australian, 1902-1959)
A ghost gum on Washwood Stn. (Mt. Bowman) near Haasts Bluff, Central Australia sheet 28 x 39.1cm (11 x 15 3/8in)

Sold for £ 20,250 (US$ 27,948) inc. premium
Albert Namatjira (Australian, 1902-1959)
A ghost gum on Washwood Stn. (Mt. Bowman) near Haasts Bluff, Central Australia
signed 'ALBERT NAMATJIRA' (lower right)
watercolour
sheet 28 x 39.1cm (11 x 15 3/8in)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, UK.

    The sheet verso also bears title and further inscription 'Scene on Washwood Stn. (Mt. Bowman) near Haast Bluff Central Australia (sold by Mrs S.A.Bawke/Alice Springs N.T.)'

    Namatjira's mentor, teacher and friend Rex Battarbee, suggested in his diaries that the artist's framing of scenes was influenced by his interest in photography. It is a convincing premise when considering the present work - one feels almost as if we are viewing the scene and its distant landscape through the camera's viewfinder. Namatjira crops the top of the monumental ghost gums which stand tall beyond sight, the pale green leaves cascading into view suggesting far-reaching branches above.

    Alison French observes; 'The trees in Namatjira's work are often subjects in their own right and play a pivotal role in leading our eye into the inner recesses of the image... In most instances, a giant river gum fills the frame to the left or right of the composition, in the shallow viewing space that Namatjira invites us to share. We gaze past this tree and the intervening middle ground to another motif: a mountain range...'1. Unlike in the works of many European artists of the time, in Namatjira's work, landscapes do not serve a purely decorative function, but as accurate 'maps' of his sacred ancestral Arrente Country for which he was custodian and both trees and mountain ranges are imbued with a spiritual presence.

    1 Alison French, Seeing the Centre: The Art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002, p.117
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