John Russell:
Australia's French impressionist

Copyright:  John Russell, Cliffs at Clos Marion, c1890

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently exhibiting the work of Australian painter John Russell, renowned for his impressionist style influenced by the French artists such as Rodin, Monet or Matisse.

Working in Europe at the end of the 19th century, John Russell (1858–1930) was part of the French avant garde. He was the only Australian painter to have been closely associated with some of the most original and influential artists in France.

He was a close friend of Van Gogh and Rodin, dined with Monet and taught impressionist colour theory to Matisse. Yet, despite the efforts of fellow Australian artist Thea Proctor, his cousin, he remains little known.

This major survey presents the breadth of Russell’s art. It ranges from his studies in London and Paris, through impressionism and experimentation with pure colour, to his later fauve-like luminous watercolours.

Bringing together approximately 100 paintings, drawings and watercolours, this is the first survey of Russell’s work in 40 years. It presents fresh perspectives on this remarkable artist and includes significant works only rediscovered recently and exhibited publicly for the first time.