Frederick MCCUBBIN | Twilight

Frederick MCCUBBIN
Australia 1855 – 1917

Twilight [South Yarra] 1912
oil on canvas
signed and dated 'F McCubbin 1912' lower right
50.0 (h) x 75.0 (w) cm
Athenaeum Club, Melbourne


Twilight is a poetic view of nature viewed at the close of day. The foreground trees are shown silhouetted against an opalescent sky, with the landscape stretching behind far into the distance. The whole is imbued with a sensitivity to atmosphere, the nuances of light and its effect, in the rosy tints of twilight. There are breezes in the trees. McCubbin painted it directly, with a loaded brush, using a restricted palette, and expressing his pleasure in mark-making for its own sake.

This painting shows the influence of the work of the early nineteenth-century French landscapist Camille Corot, in its soft forms, feathery foliage, muted colours, slender trees and elegiac quality. As with Corot, tone, not line, describes the distance in this work. Moreover, the work shows McCubbin’s humble attitude towards nature; an interest in unostentatious imagery.

Formerly known as ‘South Yarra’, this is probably the work exhibited by McCubbin as ‘Twilight’ at the Athenaeum Gallery in 1912.

Tickets available online now | open 14 August – 1 November 2009