Walk treads Indigo art heritage

LEGACY: Kate Sutherland (left), James Toole, Jill Keith, Daren John Pope and Pamela Thomas took Beechworth Arts Council’s Spring Arts inaugural ‘Art walk’ through central Beechworth to the Gorge on Saturday, where Eugene von Guérard 156 years earlier sketched Chevalier’s Mill. The mill, owned by the family of painter Nicholas Chevalier, operated below the house in the background. Image: Jamie Kronborg

BEECHWORTH Arts Council again on Saturday (November 3) offers the opportunity for people to tread the canvas of Indigo’s art heritage with two ‘Art walks’.

Participants on October 27 took the inaugural walk – a feature of this year’s Spring Arts program – to explore the legacy of art, science, literature and horticulture in Beechworth.

The walk, devised by Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg, retraces the interaction of the ‘Great Victorians’ on the Ovens goldfield in the post-1852 colonial period and the links which developed between them.

The principal characters included meteorologist and magnetician Georg von Neumayer, artists Eugene von Guérard and Nicholas Chevalier, botanist Ferdinand von Müeller, police superintendent Robert O’Hara Burke, colonial photographer James Bray, writer and poet Ada Cambridge (Cross) and early twentieth century landscape and figurative painter Hilda Rix, who grew up in Beechworth.

ROBUST STYLE: Beechworth-raised painter Hilda Rix. Image: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (photographer unknown: 1910)

Rix came to Beechworth as a infant when her father, a teacher and poet, was appointed schools inspector in the region. Her mother, Elizabeth, was an accomplished painter and a member of Melbourne’s prestigious Austral Salon, who had attended the National Gallery of Victoria School with artists Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Rupert Bunny and Emanuel Phillips Fox.

Hilda Rix went on to study at the NGV School – which Eugene von Guérard established – where she was taught by McCubbin and where von Guérard had been first master of painting. She later went to England with her mother and sister before painting in France and Morocco, where she is believed to have met and perhaps worked with Henri Matisse.

Her works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and Victoria, National Portrait Gallery, Australian War Memorial, Art Galleries of South Australia and Western Australia, and Musée du Luxembourg in France.

  • For reservations in the 90-minute ticketed walks at 10am and 2pm go to https://www.trybooking.com/YMOI : $10 adults, $5 children, Arts Council members free. The walks leave from the Burke Museum in Loch Street. 

Indigo landscape springs into frame

FRAMED LANDSCAPE: Beechworth Arts Council is opening Spring Arts 2018 at the Old Hospital facade in Church Street on October 26 at 5:30pm.

INDIGO mayor Jenny O’Connor opens Beechworth Arts Council’s Spring Arts 2018 at the Old Hospital façade in Church Street on October 26 – launching a month-long program of creative events and exhibitions that place Indigo’s landscape in the frame.

Shows of works by Beechworth artist Valerie Crosse in Christ Church and printmaking trio Tania Sutton, Janet Sutherland and Chris Dormer in Indigo Library Beechworth open on launch day. Sponsor Off Centre Gallery in Milawa also opens ‘Flourish’, new works by Fleur Rendell, and a tantalising array of objects – in ‘O for object’ – appear in a number of places across Beechworth.

SPRING: Valerie Crosse explores beyond her window.

On October 27 the Arts Council hosts two 75-minute guided walks exploring Indigo’s art heritage, starting at the Burke Museum from 10am and 2pm – a ticketed event. There’s also a Young Creatives’ Extravaganza hosted by Beechworth Secondary College and Old Beechworth Gaol, at the gaol, celebrating young people’s creativity.

In the week ahead Beechworth painters Alan Phillips and Nina Machielse Hunt will lead ‘Fresh takes’, a community art class open to all, in which participants on November 3 in Beechworth’s historic precinct will re-work images with deep links to Beechworth’s past. Valerie Cross will also host a workshop, ‘Drawing from life’, on November 4.

Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg and Spring Arts convenor Daren John Pope said the program, which runs until November 25, was designed to challenge and encourage artists, crafters and the community to explore, discover and translate elements of Indigo’s landscape – its skies, seasons, colours, geography, topography, botany, animals, birds and cultivation – in fresh ways.