Eugene von Guerard (1811 – 1901)
Born in Vienna von Guerard exhibited an artistic talent from an early age. He toured Italy with his father studying the art of the old masters. In 1838 he studied landscape painting at the Dusseldorf Academy where he engrossed himself in the German Romantic Landscape tradition, exemplified by the art of Caspar David Friedrich. As a result, von Guerard’s paintings, sketches and lithographs of Australia are not simply topographical but rather aim to create awe-inspiring imagery in the pursuit of the sublime and picturesque. By the 1860’s von Guerard was recognised as the foremost landscape artist in the Australian colonies. His strong geometric compositions and forms were highly unique in comparison to his contemporaries in the context of Australian illustrations. In 1870 he was appointed the First Master of the School of Painting at the National Gallery of Victoria, where he influenced and trained artists for the next 11 years. Von Guerard unlike his contemporaries did not produce many lithographs, although Australian Landscapes, are considered to be some of the finest illustrations of Australian landscapes. These lithographs are represented in all major Australian institutional collections.