Part 1: Important Fine Art
27 November 2013


(1899 - 1958)

oil on canvas

26.5 x 37.0 cm

$15,000 - 25,000

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne
Private collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in 2007


The late landscape paintings of Horace Trenerry, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 November 2008 – 15 March 2009
Horace Trenerry Retrospective, Carrick Hill, Adelaide, 11 March – 27 June 2010, cat. 53 (label attached verso)


Klepac, L., Horace Trenerry, Beagle Press, Sydney, 2009, p. 55 (illus.)

Catalogue text

The Coorong, of national park and especially saltwater lagoons, is one of the natural treasures of South Australia, stretching from the mouth of the Murray River eastwards, protected from the great Southern Ocean by sweeping sand dunes. Rich in bird life, it is populated with ducks, swans, pelicans, cormorants and many migratory species. Having long drawn artists to its wetlands, Colin Thiele's 1964 book Storm Boy, and the subsequent film, are among those inspired by the area.

During the summer of 1927 into 1928, Horace Trenerry spent six weeks at the Coorong with a friend, Archie Ritchie, who had rented a shack used for duck shooting.1 The '28' inscribed on the painting indicates that Trenerry painted Landscape with Sea (Coorong) in the heat of a January summer's day when he was coming to terms with the strong, bright light and colours of South Australia's southern coast. Trenerry found his inspiration in nature, chilblains and sunstroke being part of the landscape painter's lot. In his 2009 book on Trenerry, Lou Klepac quotes the artist in an article printed in the Adelaide Advertiser of 16 July 1927. '... for to paint nature you must be afield early and late. The frost soon melts and the sun moves on and no place ever looks quite the same again. This is why there is an endless freshness in landscape work.'2 It is this freshness which so often distinguishes Trenerry's work from others; a painter whose work deserves to be better known as Port Willunga Landscape and Winter Landscape, 1940 in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, and Untitled Willunga Landscape, c1945 in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney readily show.

For Landscape with Sea (Coorong), Trenerry worked within a more conventional approach, cradling the blue waters within the curve of the sand hills and greenery, the nigh encompassing curve adding to the mood of calm and relaxation. Figures within the sand hills and the two small boats on the sea, as mere touches of paint, provide incidental interest and scale within the long, low scene. Brightness of the light is captured in the yellow-blue sky as it reflects off the sea and sand alike, the impact of the latter being achieved by the thickness of the yellow paint, freely brushed over. This liveliness of paint surface gives the painting a special vivacity. Here, as in so many of his works, Trenerry created a wonderful interplay between the formal elements of the painting and the illusion of the landscape.

1. Klepac, L., Horace Trenerry, Beagle Press, Sydney, 2009, p. 133
2. Ibid., p. 13