Important Fine Art + Aboriginal Art
2 December 2015


(1867 – 1943)

oil on wood panel

20.5 x 11.0 cm

signed with initials lower right: A. S

$60,000 – 80,000
Sold for $61,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 41 - 2 December 2015, Sydney

Private collection, Queensland
Leonard Joel, Melbourne, 23 August 1995, lot 90 (unsold)
Queensland Art Brokering
Private collection, Sydney
Company collection, Melbourne


Possibly as Little Blue Bay, c.1926, Heroic Landscape: Arthur Streeton to Fred Williams, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 16 October-22 November 1970, cat. 26 (loaned by Julian Sterling, Southern Cross Galleries, Melbourne)

Catalogue text

The subject appears to be viewed from the vicinity of Little Sirius Cove with Cremorne Point in the distance and the city beyond. Robertson Point Light, the round white cylindrical tower located at the tip of the Point, standing offshore, marked the channel between Robertson Point and Pinchgut Island.

Following a group of Melbourne and Olinda-based subjects painted in 1925 and 1926, Arthur Streeton returned to Sydney in August-September 1926 staying at Pfahlerts Hotel in the city.

‘He was there to paint pictures for exhibitions early the following year; and spent most of his time at the homes of a number of patrons painting views of the harbour. He wrote to Oscar Paul [Point Piper] from Pfahlerts Hotel on 18 August: ‘Since seeing you I’ve been hard at work every day: a sort of colourful intoxication & lust for creation...I’ve now given birth to 11 panels of Sydney...’.’1

On this visit he painted views of the city from the North Shore, particularly favouring subjects around Cremorne, Mosman, Neutral Bay and Point Piper as well as the northern beaches of Palm Beach and Barrenjoey.

The Arthur Streeton Catalogue lists four small Cremorne subjects painted in 1926 each of horizontal format and approximately 12 x 21 cm in size.

One of these, Little Blue Bay, cat. 911 formerly owned by Mrs C. S. Henderson was sold by Leonard Joel, April 1991. Another, Afternoon, Cremorne 1926, cat. 910 formerly owned by Mrs J. D. Campbell was sold by Deutscher-Menzies, August 2000. Another same-sized work, vertical in format, and also titled Little Blue Bay c 1926, was exhibited in Heroic Landscape: Arthur Streeton to Fred Williams, National Gallery of Victoria 16 October-22 November. 1970. This is likely to be the painting on offer.

Of particular note is the minimal quality of our subject with its vast expanse of deep blue water viewed through Banksia trees in the foreground. The powerful blue note of the subject is a re-occurring theme for the artist, with notable past examples being The Pacific Blue (Coogee), 1890, Our Beautiful Blue Harbour, 1907, Blue Depths, 1913-14 and Blue Ocean Lorne 1920. Streeton held a similar ongoing fascination with Venetian subjects capturing the sparkling blue waters of the lagoons and canals.

1. Eagle, M., The Oil Paintings of Arthur Streeton in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1994, p. 176