A ROAD TO THE KURRAJONG, c.1896 (also known as SUMMER HEAT)

Important Australian + International Fine Art
28 August 2013


(1867 - 1943)
A ROAD TO THE KURRAJONG, c.1896 (also known as SUMMER HEAT)

oil on wood panel

31.0 x 21.0 cm

signed lower left: STREETON
bears inscription verso: mechanically reproduced pattern of a toy clock holder with words 'Urhhalter. / No13.'

$400,000 - 600,000
Sold for $456,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 30 - 28 August 2013, Sydney

William Beckwith McInnes, Melbourne
Violet McInnes, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne
Joel's, Melbourne, 4 November 1981, lot 840 (as 'Summer Heat')
Private collection
Sotheby's, Melbourne, April 1996, lot 63 (as 'A Road to the Kurrajong')
Savill Galleries, Sydney, 1996
Private collection, Sydney
Savill Galleries, Sydney, 2007 (label attached verso)
Private collection, Perth


Streeton's Sydney Sunshine Exhibition, 88 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 30 November 1896, cat. 26 (as'A Road to the Kurrajong')
Australian Paintings: Traditional, Modern and Contemporary, Savill Galleries, Sydney, 16 August – 23 September 2006;
Savill Galleries, Melbourne, 13 August – 17 September 2006 (as'Summer Heat', 1896)


The Sun, Melbourne, 11 December 1896, p. 14
Streeton, A., The Arthur Streeton Catalogue, self published, Melbourne, 1935, cat. 177 (as 'Road to Kurrajong')
McCulloch, S., 'Sale of works offer rare frame of reference', The Australian, 18 April 1996

Catalogue text

'...Mr. Streeton has been dowered with most wonderful artistic gifts,...'1

In late November of 1896, Arthur Streeton held an exhibition in Melbourne to which he gave the title 'Streeton's Sydney Sunshine Exhibition'. He hoped that the sales and associated art union would finance his proposed trip to Europe 'for purposes of study'.2 It included many of his masterpieces to date such as The Selector's Hut: Whelan on the Log, 1890 now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and The Railway Station, Redfern, 1893 in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. The trustees of the latter institution generously lent Streeton works already in their collection- 'Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide', 1890; Fire's On, 1891; Cremorne Pastoral, 1895; and the watercolour Surveyor's Camp, 1896. In Melbourne, the trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria purchased 'The purple noon's transparent might', 1896 from the exhibition. The list of impressive exhibits rolls on with another Hawkesbury panorama, The River, 1896 (now in the National Gallery of Victoria with a very prestigious provenance); and Sunlight: Cutting on a Hot Road, 1895, in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. This latter painting was originally purchased from the 1896 exhibition by Dr Felix Myer of Melbourne, the painting bequeathed to the National Gallery of Australia in 1975 by his widow Mary Meyer in his memory. A Road to the Kurrajong, c1896, sometimes known as Summer Heat, has an honoured place in this august company. Its quality was remarked on at the time of the exhibition, the reviewer for the Melbourne Sun commenting, 'A small picture, 'A Road to the Kurrajong,' literally blazes with colour, sunshine on red and yellow soil, and its neighbour, 'The Path to Podge Newton's,' up a steep hill to a wooden hut, does the same.'3 Both brilliant in their handling, they convey the immediacy of the artist's responses to the scenes, full of vivacity and enjoyment of what he is doing. They were characteristic of the whole exhibition, which the Australasian noted was largely of New South Wales subjects, 'vivid transcripts of Australian landscape seen beneath the fierce glare of noonday summer sun. The stifling heat, painful stillness, clear-cut transparent purple shadows, and high lights almost blinding in their brilliancy, are given by the artist with a vivid realism so characteristic of purely Australian landscape.'4 In A Road to the Kurrajong, c1896 Streeton presented the haze of summer heat in a series of dancing brush strokes and opaque and transparent colours that throb with the moment depicted. The imagery of road and sky, lone figure, gum, and collection of buildings is devoted to portraying the subject "atmosphere" the illusion seeming to rival reality.

1. The Sun, Melbourne, 11 December 1896
2. Sun, The Society Courier, 11 December 1896, p. 14
3. Ibid. The Path to Podge Newton's was previously in the collection of ICI Australia
4. Australasian, Melbourne, 12 December 1896, p. 1177