Important Australian + International Fine Art
2 May 2012


born 1958

oil on canvas

183.0 x 183.0 cm

signed twice, dated and titled verso on stretcher: Stephen Bush 1999 ‘The Lure of Paris’ #17

$35,000 - 45,000
Sold for $42,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 25 - 2 May 2012, Sydney

Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

Lure of Paris is arguably the most significant subject in Stephen Bush's repertoire and it is an iconography which underpins the artist's entire project to explore the notions of replication and originality in art. He exhibited his first Lure of Paris at the self-titled exhibition at Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne in July 1994. Lure of Paris #5 was the first work in the exhibition and Lure of Paris #1 was in fact placed at number 4 in a succinct catalogue of only seven works, five of which were dedicated to the subject. All quasi replicas of each other depicting an abseiling Barbar in an eternal descent and ascent of a coastal rock face painted between 1992 and 1994.

There is a deliberate serial function to Stephen Bush's art. As Chris McAuliffe points out in the catalogue essay to the above mentioned exhibition, 'his paintings are doubly derivative; they emulate the conventions of the nineteenth-century landscape, and they repeat the artist's own oeuvre'.1 Paradoxically, while each painting is seemingly a replica of the last they are in fact all hand-made and 'created' by the artist himself without mechanical intervention or the aide of digital photography and while they appear to 'come off the press' so to speak, each one is an individual original piece. Each Lure of Paris is painted employing the traditional materials and techniques associated with the artist in his studio, much the same way one of his 19th century colleagues would have worked. The romantic landscape tradition of the 19th century informs his work constantly. The dramatic breaking sunlight along the horizon and the crashing waves hark back to the paintings of Eugene Von Guerard and Nicholas Chevalier, who like Bush would have had numerous variations of the romantic landscape at different stages of completion in their studios at any given time.

1. McAuliffe, C., 'Stephen Bush: Serial Originality', in Stephen Bush: The Lure of Paris, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne, 1994