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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Frederick McCubbin Masterpiece for Auction

frederick-mccubbin.jpgOne of Frederick McCubbin’s most significant paintings remaining in private ownership will be auctioned at Bonhams & Goodman’s Australian and International Fine Art auction on 6 May 2009.

Frederick McCubbin remains one of Australia’s most beloved and revered artists, whose later landscapes – with their radical palette-knife technique of broken pure colour – represent a tour-de-force in Australian painting.

Midsummer Eve 1906-1912 is one of McCubbin’s largest and finest examples from this period. Commenced and exhibited in 1906, the subject originally included nymphs bathing in the Australian bush. However, following his only European sojourn in 1907, McCubbin altered the composition, replacing the female bathers with male labourers, thereby diminishing the allegorical and pronouncing the naturalistic and impressionistic qualities. The painting was last publicly shown in McCubbin’s solo exhibition held in Melbourne in 1912.

In 2007 the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, acquired the comparable Violet and Gold 1911 for $1,320,000, and is curating an exhibition celebrating the artist’s late career in August 2009.

Midsummer Eve forms part of a major private Sydney collection consigned to Bonhams & Goodman’s May Fine Art auction. The collection also includes major paintings by Eugene Von Guerard, Walter Withers, Arthur Streeton and Norman Lindsay.

Geoffrey Smith, Director & National Head of Art at Bonhams & Goodman, said “The reappearance of Frederick McCubbin’s masterpiece of Australian Impressionism will be sure to generate interest amongst serious collectors. Midsummer Eve directly relates to the final panel in McCubbin’s most famous painting The Pioneer 1904 in the collection of the NGV. Unlike his contemporaries, McCubbin’s technique became more radical in his later career and the major paintings from this period are the most revered of all.”

Auction info

Frederick McCubbin (1855-1917)
Midsummer Eve 1906-1912
oil on canvas
138 x 70.3cm
Estimate: $800,000 – 1,200,000