The National Gallery’s innovative exhibition “Australia’s Impressionists” is focused on the work of four talented Australian artists painting between 1884 and 1904. Three of them, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts, and Arthur Streeton, were not really Impressionists, and the fourth, John Peter Russell, while very much the Impressionist, lived in France and had become a French artist. It does not matter. The paintings are an inspiration, and the curators’ account of how art developed in Australia, that third great center of Anglo-Saxon culture, is a fascinating one. Most of the works in the exhibition have come from Australian public galleries, particularly the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. The Australian art of this time deserves to be far better known outside Australia and particularly in the United States. Looking at the paintings in the exhibition, I suddenly had the wish to fly to...


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