JOHANN JOSEPH EUGENE VON GUERARD
(17 November 1811 – 17 April 1901)
Von Guerard was born in Austria in 1811. He was nearly 40 in 1849 when he attended the Düsseldorf Academy. During his years with the Academy he was influenced by the German Romantic tradition and in particular, Caspar David Friedrich. Similar to the Nazarene movement, German Romanticism attempted to link God with man using nature.
Von Guerards personal artistic style owes much to the Romantic style of Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin and Salvator Rosa. He traveled widely and painted landscapes wherever he went. From 1852 to 1882 he lived in Australia and became one of the first artists to record the Australian landscape. In Australia, he is usually referred to as Eugene von Guerard without the accent on his last name.
Personally I love the Australian landscape which is like no other place on earth. The colours are stunning, the light inspiring and the landscapes, challenging. When I lived in Australia I had little time to paint the beauty of this extraordinary county, therefore, I'm glad that artists like Guerard did such a wonderful job and art collectors have purchased and preserved their work for posterity.
The little sketch below was my last home in Australia. The old stone house was built by Irish immigrants in 1851 and was one of the first in the area. Once the verandah had a beautiful view of the ocean, but had long since been subdivided for housing which now blocks the view. In this sketch I painted it as it would have looked when first built.
I've lived in brick, concrete and wood homes, but this was my first experience of a stone house and I was amazed at how pleasant it was to live in. Cool in summer, warm in winter and this home in particular exuded a sense of history and continuity. There was areal sense that the homestead was connected to both the land and the people that lived there.
I enjoy this technique of ink and colour wash and I plan to create such a series of drawings of the historic buildings around where I live before they disappear. Hopefully I will find the time next summer. If you live in a home that has a sense of history I would love to paint it for you. They make a great heirloom for the family.