Important Australian + International Fine Art
26 August 2015


(1918 - 2001)

oil on board

61.0 x 122.0 cm

signed and dated lower left: H. Taylor 93 signed, dated and inscribed verso: 'Tree Line With Green Paddock' H. Taylor 1993

$80,000 - 100,000
Sold for $141,520 (inc. BP) in Auction 40 - 26 August 2015, Sydney

Galerie Dusseldorf, Perth (ref. GD HT 11-8-93) 
Wyllie Group Collection, Perth (label attached verso) 
Private collection, Singapore 
Deutscher~Menzies, Sydney, 16 June 2004, lot 57 
Private collection, Sydney


Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901 – 2001, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 8 December 2000 – 11 February 2001; and touring various venues nationally 2001 – 2002


Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901 – 2001, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2000, p. 67 (illus.)

Catalogue text

'... more than any other Australian artist, perhaps even any other naturalist, scientist or compassionate interpreter of the magical Australian landscape, [Taylor] sought and found the very essence of the landscape. It is that extraordinary enunciation and richly orchestrated revelation of the life, structure, rhythms, light, colour and movement of that landscape which not only gave us his meditations but, in its making, some of the most stunning and original visual images of the past century...'1

With a vast, innovative oeuvre spanning five decades, Howard Taylor is widely revered as one of the most significant artists of the late twentieth century to interpret the Australian landscape. Honoured in 2003 with a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, indeed critics have subsequently proclaimed Taylor an 'old master' in the same vein as Sidney Nolan and Fred Williams. While firmly rooted within the landscape tradition of Australian art, his work however defies definition, standing resolutely outside any particular 'school' or 'movement'. As Anthony Russell observes,'... his vision went far beyond the focus of any painter before him, in that none of them - irrespective of their unquestioned brilliance - ever interrogated and captured the complexity of structure, the ephemeral quality of its light and colour, or the rich and subtle patina of its living forms, as he did.2

Featured in the National Gallery of Australia's landmark exhibition 'Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901-2001' which toured throughout Australia in 2001-2002, Tree Line with Green Paddock, 1993 belongs to small body of mature works which powerfully evoke the momentary illusions of mist, light and passing clouds across a grassy expanse bordered by karri trees. Inspired by the remote Northcliffe forest near Albany, Western Australia where Taylor lived with his wife from 1967 until his death in 2001, the work captures his personal relationship with his immediate environment, focussing upon the temporal, climactic conditions within nature to create an almost otherworldly sense of quiet. Like the remaining works in this quartet - Tree Line, Tree Line with Blue Cloud and Tree Line with Cloud Shadow, all executed in 1993 - the mood is profoundly silent, imparting a tangible sense of solitude. Distilled from a lifetime of careful observation, the landscape here is accordingly pared down to the barest of essentials, forcing the viewer to look differently - or at least longer. For it is only through our sustained attention that the painter's singular vision, his experience of' looking', may be fully appreciated. 

So simple in composition, yet so evocative in content, thus Tree Line with Green Paddock encapsulates superbly the unparalleled conceptual subtlety for which Taylor is so admired. As Alan Dodge mused in his foreword to the 'Phenomena' catalogue: 'Taylor's work demonstrates for us all that the more one looks the more enlightening experience becomes, and that the resources of art are constantly replenished by the very problems it seems to pose.3

1. Russell, A.,'Tribute to Howard Hamilton Taylor', exhibition essay for Howard Taylor,Towards Discovery: Paintings - Maquettes - Drawings, Galerie Dusseldorf, Mosman Park, Western Australia, 15 February - 28 March 2004
2. Ibid.
3. Dodge, A., 'Foreword', Howard Taylor: Phenomena, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 2003, p. 7