Arthur Streeton

Arthur Streeton


Armand Cabrera

Arthur Streeton was at the forefront of a small group of Australian painters responsible for creating an Impressionist style in the 1880’s.

Born in a small town near Melbourne, Australia, Streeton worked as an apprentice lithographer and spent his free time painting and drawing around the area. Streeton was part of a younger generation of artists who admired the French Barbizon Painters. It was this direct approach to painting outdoors and recording contemporary life that attracted the young Streeton to the Barbizon School.

In 1886, while sketching near Melbourne, the Streeton met artists, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin. This marked an important turning point in Streeton’s career. He was invited to join the other artists in their painting camp and began associations with them that would last for Streeton’s lifetime.

Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin organized the very first Impressionist show in Australia. Called the “9 by 5 Impression Exhibition”, the majority of the 183 paintings on display were sketches painted on cigar box lids measuring 9 by 5 inches. The subject matter was more personal than anything exhibited before and redefined the definition of “acceptable” art.

The years following this landmark show found Streeton broadening both his abilities and subject matter. In 1896, after a successful solo show, he decided to travel to Europe to seek greater fame and fortune.

Success in London greatly increased Arthur Streeton’s significance in Australia. On his return to Melbourne in 1906, Streeton received a hero’s welcome. His solo exhibitions were a financial success. Streeton returned to London in 1908 and married. He joined the Medical corps during WWI and was appointed as an official war artist. Streeton finally return home in 1920, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Arthur Streeton was acknowledged as Australia’s greatest landscape painter. In this position, he increasingly became an outspoken conservationist—denouncing the destruction of his beloved Australian landscape. In the final years before his death, Streeton’s paintings reflected an unflinching dedication to preserving the land he loved.


Arthur Streeton 1867-1943
Geoffrey Smith
National Gallery of Victoria

Golden Summers Heidelberg and Beyond
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw
International Cultural Corporation of Australia


It seems an amazing thing to me that a community which is progressive and businesslike in so many ways, should suffer hundreds and hundreds of acres of valuable timber to be destroyed to facilitate some work of the moment when so little is gained from it.
Arthur Streeton