Cover image of the review
Jane Sutherland, *Obstruction, Box Hill*, 1887, oil on canvas, 41.3 x 31.1cm, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Victoria. L. J. Wilson Bequest Fund, 1976.

Jane Sutherland, Obstruction, Box Hill, 1887

23 May 2020
Art Gallery of Ballarat

I was recently scrolling through the images for the Heidelberg School lecture I usually give for my Australian Art class at university when I suddenly stopped in my tracks. Why hadn’t I noticed it before?

There towards the end, after telling the heroic story of the rise of a distinctive style of Australian art and the holding of the famous 9 x 5 Impressions show at Buxton’s Art Gallery on 17 August 1889, were slides of the Australian women Impressionists Elizabeth Parsons, Emma Minnie Boyd and Jane Sutherland.

It’s token, I realise that. But I have only one hour—ridiculous—and I figure it’s best to give first-time students to Australian art the canonical story before proceeding to challenge it. As a result, the women artists are still at the end, with a promise they will be taken up in more detail in the tutorial.

But on this particular day, re-familiarising myself with the works before recording my COVID-19 online video, I held my finger over my mouse, transfixed by what I was looking at.

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