Rolling hills, Yass

Born Gisborne, New Zealand 1882, arrived Australia 1883, died Sydney 1939

Elioth Gruner began his artistic training in 1894 at the age of twelve, taking drawing lessons at the Julian Ashton School, Sydney. He commenced exhibiting in 1901 with the Sydney Society of Artists, and supported his painting through art-related employment.

Influenced by the work and teachings of Max Meldrum, J.J. Hilder and the French landscape painter Jean Bapiste Camille Corot, Gruner became intensely interested in the effects and depiction of light within painting. He began depicting landscapes against the light, particularly in the early morning, so that the subject would be silhouetted and surrounded by a halo effect. Pastures, the early rising sun over a field and agricultural scenes were among his favourite subjects. To ensure tonal and textual unity, he worked with a limited palette and used the flat side of a soft sable brush.

Between 1915 and 1920 Gruner produced some of the finest work of his career and received critical acclaim from Norman Lindsay among others. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times, the first in 1916 for his painting Morning light. Painted the following year, the shimmering grass and long shadows in Field (1917) illustrates Gruner’s interest in the effects of light and is an excellent example of his experimentation during this period.

Gruner’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, all state galleries and many regional galleries.