Important Australian + International Fine Art
21 April 2021


(1867 – 1943)

oil on canvas

77.0 x 64.0 cm

signed lower left: A. STREETON

$45,000 – 65,000
Sold for $85,909 (inc. BP) in Auction 64 - 21 April 2021, Melbourne

Mr H. Burgess, Melbourne, by 1935
Leonard Joel, Melbourne, 21 May 1975, lot 127
Private collection, Melbourne


An Exhibition of Arthur Streeton's Paintings, Athenaeum Gallery, Melbourne, 4 – 16 June 1934, no. 32
Arthur Streeton 1867 – 1943, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 8 December 1995 – 12 February 1996, cat. 75, and touring to the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1 March – 14 April 1996; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1 May – 16 June 1996; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 8 July – 25 August; and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 11 October – 24 November 1996


Streeton, A., The Arthur Streeton Catalogue, Melbourne, 1935, no. 1103
Smith, G., Arthur Streeton 1867 – 1943, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, cat. 75, pp.176–177 (illus.)

Catalogue text

Arthur Streeton’s interest in painting flower pieces increased considerably after his return to Melbourne in 1920. Purchasing the property ‘Longacres’ at Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges and setting up a city home in Toorak, he established gardens at both. They inspired the many flower paintings that now hold a prominent part in his oeuvre. His favourite was the rose. So enamoured was he that, in December 1932, he held an exhibition devoted to it. Shown at Melbourne’s Fine Art Society’s Gallery, it included Roses, Silver and Silk; Roses - Deep Red and Green; Roses Pale in Silver Bowl and Roses - Pale Yellow. Two years previously both the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales acquired paintings simply titled ‘Roses’ – the former through the Felton Bequest and the Sydney gallery from Streeton’s solo exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries. They often contained a touch of drama, as in Roses, c.1929 (Art Gallery of New South Wales). Spot-lit against a dark background, the impact of its realism is powerful, as admired by a viewer at the time:

… I noticed a bunch of crimson roses on the wall, so real, that at the same instant I seemed almost to be overpowered by the scent. Having practically to shake myself free of this fancy, I found I was gazing at a picture of what was just a bunch of red roses in a simple glass vase, but so real, so perfect, that one of the roses looked as if it was about to wilt.1

These qualities were readily noted by the newspaper critics. Of Streeton’s exhibition at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Gallery in November 1920, the Age critic wrote: ‘a painting of a spray of plum blossom in a glass bowl … reveals the painter’s almost uncanny cleverness. To paint glass without the help of a dominant color behind it is a problem that most artists would leave severely alone. With a few sure strokes of the brush Mr. Streeton has achieved the translucency, the actual brittleness of the glass’. 2

Roses, Pink, 1934 is one of Streeton’s finest flower pieces, featured in the touring exhibition presented by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1995. In a virtuoso performance, bravura is balanced with sensitivity as Streeton delights in celebrating the many beauties of his favourite flower and sharing them generously with the viewer. A similar, slightly smaller painting, Roses, La France, c.1933, was sold by Deutscher and Hackett in September 2017.3 Both Roses, Pink and Roses, La France were included in

Streeton’s Athenaeum exhibition of June 1934.4 ‘In this show’, wrote Argus art critic Harold Herbert, ‘there are many beautiful flower pieces, all painted with the wizardry that is Streeton’s own’.5 Citing Roses, La France as ‘a perfect example’, he adds: ‘his flower pieces [are] full of fragrant freshness and convincing realism. Not only are the flowers beautifully painted and arranged, but the glazed vase or crystal bowl that contains them is an object to be admired for its masterly treatment in paint. Backgrounds of silks and velvets are other features of these studies to excite admiration’.6 Such words of praise apply equally to Roses, Pink, 1934.

1. W.G.E., ‘The Streeton Collection’, Letters to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December 1931, p.4
2. ‘Mr. Arthur Streeton Among The Grampians’, Age, Melbourne, 2 November 1920, p.8
3 Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney, 20 September 2017, lot 5
4. The title ‘Roses La France’ appealed to Streeton, who used it, with variations, several times in works exhibited in the ‘thirties. His 1935 Catalogue, however, lists only one painting titled ‘Roses, La France’, (1070). Two by the title ‘Roses La France’ were included in his 1936 exhibition at the Athenaeum and one, ‘Roses (La France) in his 1937 show.
5. Herbert, H, ‘The Art of Arthur Streeton’, Argus, Melbourne, 5 June 1934, p.5
6. Ibid.