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Land of the Golden Fleece Theme: The Land

Artist: Arthur STREETON
Birth/Death: 1867–1943

Title: Land of the Golden Fleece

Credit Line: Bequest of Henriette von Dallwitz and of Richard Paul in honour of his father Dr Oscar Paul 1965. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

On 4 December 1926, Arthur Streeton wrote from Willaura, Victoria:

‘I'm away here painting among the sheep and the red gums, with the grand mass of the Grampians towering up behind.’

Arthur Streeton’s The Land of the Golden Fleece celebrates Australia as a blue and gold paradise. By 1926 the pain of the war years had begun to diminish, and Australians could dream of future greatness, of a southern land of many millions, rivalling America and surpassing the exhausted lands of Europe. There are three versions of Land of the Golden Fleece. The brushwork in this version is particularly fresh and varied. The composition is understated. Random groups of eucalypt, a windmill, a blue pond and a flock of sheep lead the eye to Mt William rising in the distance.

This is more than just a decorative landscape bathed in blue and gold. Streeton has painted a postwar Australian landscape full of national pride, prosperity and potential. The title of the painting further classicises the Australian bush and makes heroes of the colonists who occupied it.

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