Frederick McCubbin – Whisperings in wattle boughs

A major exhibition at the Geelong Gallery
Geelong Gallery
by
ABR Arts 23 November 2021

Frederick McCubbin – Whisperings in wattle boughs

A major exhibition at the Geelong Gallery
Geelong Gallery
by
ABR Arts 23 November 2021
Frederick McCubbin, A bush burial, 1890, oil on canvas, Geelong Gallery. Purchased by public subscription, 1900. (photograph by Andrew Curtis)
Frederick McCubbin, A bush burial, 1890, oil on canvas, Geelong Gallery. Purchased by public subscription, 1900. (photograph by Andrew Curtis)

Frederick McCubbin (1855–1917), otherwise known as ‘The Proff’, was only a sometime plein-airiste at the Box Hill artists’ camp. He never made it out to Eaglemont and Heidelberg, as curator and historian Anne Gray has shown, debunking mythic accretions of place around the venerated so-called Heidelberg School.[1] Boxhill/Lilydale, laid down in 1882, was McCubbin’s trainline of choice. He was also a studio artist given to creating a tightly controlled narrative mise en scène. As Andrew McKenzie has revealed, McCubbin built a faux grave in his backyard at his home in Rathmines Street, Hawthorn, dragooning his wife, Annie, to play the female mourner for A Bush Burial (1890).[2] The bearded elder was possibly John Dunne, a picaresque character whom McCubbin purportedly accosted on a city street. Artist friend Louis Abrahams played the young male mourner. The young girl is not identified. Nor the sorrowful dog.

From the New Issue

Comment (1)

  • What an excellent, thoughtful and nuanced review, yet again. It provides plenty of context and ideas to take to a viewing of this exhibition.
    Posted by Dena Kahan
    25 November 2021

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