Important Australian + International Fine Art
4 May 2022


born 1936

oil on linen

92.0 x 122.0 cm

signed and dated lower right: William Robinson 2007
inscribed with title verso: LATE AFTERNOON WITH FLOWERING PALMS 

$70,000 – $90,000
Sold for $233,182 (inc. BP) in Auction 69 - 4 May 2022, Sydney

Australian Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, New South Wales


William Robinson, Paintings and Lithographs 2000 – 2007, Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2 –24 October 2007 and Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 13 November – 9 December 2007, cat. 17 (illus. in exhibition catalogue, p. 49) 

Catalogue text

By the time William Robinson came to paint Late Afternoon with Flowering Palms, 2007 he was well established as a great Australian landscape painter. With four of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes to his name (two Archibald and two Wynne prizes) as well as thirty solo exhibitions, the artist had every right to feel comfortable with the mantle. Robinson broke the mould when it came to painting the Australian landscape. Where many artists of his generation chose to look inwards towards the outback’s desperate beauty, Robinson focussed almost entirely on the ancient rainforests and eucalypt forests of southeast Queensland. His progress as a painter can be charted through his many solo exhibitions, as each show trumpeted Robinson’s latest innovation or discovery.

By the time of his 2007 exhibition which included Late Afternoon with Flowering Palms, the artist’s trademark staccato brushwork had been replaced by a more contemplative, patient method of applying the paint. The urgency to capture the moment and draw it to a towering crescendo had given way to a rhetorical meditation on the picture itself.

The current example is from a group of works painted around the Byron Bay area. The Robinsons had moved there from their Springbrook property and the views of the ocean provided the artist with fresh material. Where Robinson’s Kingscliff coastal works created in the mid-1990s had focused on the local beach activities, this later series featured the sea as viewed or glimpsed in the distance through dense forests. In this manner, Robinson brings together two important phases of his work.

Robinson’s paintings attempt to create the sensation of being in the landscape; as the artist explains the feeling he attempts to convey, '…I want to move away from observing the picture as some sort of representation. I want to sweep the observer down gullies and up into the sky. The observer is drawn into the landscape not physically but as a sort of connection to memory. The painting reminds us of experiences we might have had when walking in the bush... I am only presenting personal experience to be shared, but I would like to give some clues that may help the observer to experience the picture.'1

The sensation when viewing these fuller, later Robinson paintings such as Late Afternoon with Flowering Palms is one of contentment, with the artist’s enjoyment, confidence and wonder at what he has achieved as a painter easily felt within the finished work.

1. Seear, L., Darkness and Light, The Art of William Robinson, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2001, p. 118