Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art

NGV Hans Heysen, Droving into the light, 1914-21Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art is the first major exhibition to bring together the work of father and daughter artists Hans and Nora Heysen. With works covering more than a century of Australian history, this exhibition offers audiences an unprecedented insight into one of Australia’s most prominent and influential artistic dynasties.

Hans was renowned for his breathtaking depictions of the Australian landscape, including some of the most recognisable and reproduced images in Australia during the mid-twentieth century. Nora, his daughter, achieved great acclaim as a painter of still lifes and portraiture – and was the first woman awarded the Archibald Prize.

The exhibition will feature 270 works, including Hans’ iconic landscape painting Droving into the light 1914–21, and will be the most complete presentation of Nora’s career to date, including her strong and sensitive self-portraiture and a wide selection of works produced during her commission as Australia’s first female war artist.

In bringing the works of Hans and Nora together, this exhibition considers their shared international influences, their love of nature and the impact of their family life and relationships. Hans and Nora corresponded throughout their lives and their letters will offer a rare insight into their personal relationship,  working methods, inspirations and thoughts on the key artistic debates of their time.

Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art also includes a large number of sketches and preparatory studies, many of which have never been exhibited before, that demonstrate not only the intricacies of their practice but also their extraordinary productivity.

A rich selection of decorative arts, including furniture and homewares from the Heysen family home, The Cedars, in Hahndorf, South Australia, will also be on display, illuminating the life and times of the Heysen family.

Spanning both World Wars, their careers reflect twentieth century Australian stories of migration, family life, wartime separation and a deep connection to place. Both artists traveled widely in Europe as part of their artistic education, and their work demonstrates not only a deep knowledge and appreciation of international influences, but also engagement with their Australian contemporaries.

“Viewed together, the works of Hans and Nora Heysen offer profound insight, not only into a mutually loving and artistically generative relationship between father and daughter, but into the wider concerns of twentieth-century Australian art and society,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director National Gallery of Victoria.


Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: 8 March – 28 July 2019
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: www.ngv.melbourne for details.

Image: Hans Heysen, Droving into the light, 1914-21, (Installation view) – photo by Tom Ross

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