Hans HEYSEN | The three gums

Germany 1877 – Australia 1968
Australia from 1884; Europe, England 1899-1903

The three gums 1915-20
oil on canvas
159.0 (h) x 128.0 (w) cm
Purchased: Lawrence Clark Bequest Fund, 1921, Collection: Ballarat Fine Art Gallery


In The three gums 1915–20 Heysen depicted the interlocking arch of three great white trees. Two cattle and a farmer echo, on a much smaller scale, the three-part conversation.

This painting was first exhibited as White gums in 1915, and the Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria were interested in purchasing it. But they deferred a decision about the purchase of the painting because they questioned Heysen’s nationality. Heysen subsequently re-painted the foreground and re-titled it The three gums before selling it to the Ballarat Art Gallery in 1921. [1]

[1] Ian North, Hans Heysen Centenary retrospective, 1877-1977, Adelaide: Art Gallery Board of South Australia, 1977, p 50