Important Australian + International Fine Art
2 May 2012


(1867 - 1943)

oil on canvas

63.5 x 101.5 cm

signed and dated lower left: ARTHUR STREETON - 1926

$350,000 - 450,000
Sold for $516,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 25 - 2 May 2012, Sydney

Mr Rupert Wertheim, Melbourne
Dr Douglas Thomas, Melbourne
Dr Roseby, Melbourne
Thence by descent
Private collection, Melbourne


Arthur Streeton, An Exhibition of Oil Paintings, Fine Art Society Galleries, Melbourne, 15–26 March 1927, cat. 2


‘Arthur Streeton Exhibition', Age, Melbourne, 15 March 1927, p. 14
‘Mr. Streeton's Paintings', Argus, Melbourne,15 March 1927, p. 16
Streeton, A., The Arthur Streeton Catalogue, Melbourne, 1935, cat. 897, as 'Harbour from Mosman'

Catalogue text

Arthur Streeton's heroic visions of the Australian landscape offered, in their time, a new vision that continues to captivate the viewer today. The beguiling The Harbour from Mosman 1926 is a sparkling example. Its feeling of grandeur, inspired by the panoramic view itself, is elevated to a new height by the artist's spontaneous and enthusiastic response. It was a lifelong enthrallment, from youthful response to the brilliance of the harbour to later works, like the present painting, masterly in celebration of its beauty. The mood is one of wonderment, awe just contained, touching on the ineffable. When reviewing Streeton's 1926 exhibition, the art critic for The Age enthused, 'In The Harbour From Mosman the suggestion is Turneresque in a measure, and the impressive subject, if not actually idealised, is depicted under conditions which confer on solid terrestrial material etherial attributes.'1 Reminiscences of J.M.W. Turner can be found in the captivating light and bravura of handling, all enveloped in a transcendental atmosphere, embracing one of the most glorious of views. It is vintage Streeton.

The bumper yield of 1926 was exhibited concurrently in Melbourne and Sydney the following March. The Land of the Golden Fleece 1926 (private collection) reigned in Melbourne and the slightly earlier 'City of laughing loveliness, Sun girdled Queen' 1921 at Sydney's Macquarie Galleries.2 Although The Argus critic wrote that in The Land of the Golden Fleece 'Mr. Streeton has given of his best', both shows included numerous Sydney Harbour paintings drawing warm applause. The Argus critic observed that in these works 'Streeton's love of blue has full play.' Noting the cleverly painted 'City From North Shore', in which the green wave in the foreground, caught as it turned over, strikes an interesting note. 'The Harbour from Mosman', 'H.M.S. Renown', 'Sydney From Neutral Bay', and 'Barrenjoey' must also be noted as possessing richness of colour and harmonious composition among the harbour canvases.3

Today, City from the North Shore c1926 is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Three additional 1926 paintings are in the same collection, all painted for Streeton's patron Dr Oscar Paul. Two are harbour views, The Harbour from Wyoming and The Harbour from Point Piper. The third, Gum Tree, Windy Ridge, Palm Beach brings together several of Streeton's abiding interests, especially the gum tree and blue waters. As in The Harbour from Mosman, blue dominates many of his paintings of the twenties, being both the colour of the waters and of much popular appeal. In our painting the Harbour blue has a tangibly aqueous feel, all bathed in a warm, diaphanous light to create an image of striking aesthetic and national appeal.

1. 'Arthur Streeton Exhibition', Age, Melbourne, 15 March 1927, p. 14
2. The two smaller versions of Land of the Golden Fleece are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. All three were exhibited in 1927.
3. 'Mr. Streeton's Paintings', Argus, Melbourne, 15 March 1927, p. 16