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George James Coates
Memorial Exhibition Show AU Should See
BY ARTHUR STREETON
A mcmoiial exhibition of the vvoiks of the late Geoite James Coates was opened vcsteiday at the Athcno-um Gallerj This is one of the few impoitant exhibitions Melbourne has seen in recent j ears and it elevates oui standards tonsideiably
I ale Mr ti J COATES
Coates was a soldier and a man in evciy sense of the term besides being one of the live most dis- tinguished poitnlt painters Austialia lins pioduced His indiv Idual v ision
prov ides us w ith | gi eut variation not only of subject mat- ter but In the vary- ing methods of hi painting His vvoiks have not been shown in Australia for some years The
present show is stimulating, impressive, and significant. The works include por- traiture, still-life, occasional compositions, and a fine section of drawings. His work and outlook aro individual-unlike that of any other Australian. Not many of his canvases have been seen in Melbourne: and one of his finest, the portrait of the lute Mr. George Bell, Is seen only by the members of the Yorlok Club.
Among the portraits in oil is a full length, No. 5, "Miss Edith Urquhart." The whole canvas is interesting for its origin- ality and Hie intense brilliance of the blue costume, with braid of black and gold. The head is vital and simply expressed. Hanging too near it on the left, another canvas with a violet note rather detracts from its brilliant harmony. No. 11, "Cap- tain Adrian Jones," Is a simple ond well coloured portrait, and an excellent likeness of the soldier and sculptor. No. 34, "Ln Vieille Contasse," has exquisite qualities of lextuic and colour. No. 20. "The Chil- dren's Orchestra," varies from oilier works with its low-toned simplicity and refined colour. No. 24, "Mrs. Howard Gull Stor- mont," is vivid realism, reminding one of Orpen's choice of simple lighting.
? The large canvas, "Arthur Walker, A.R.A., and His Brother, Harold," Is full of the character of the Chelsea sculptor. No. 31, "Water-babies: A Plwmosy," is a gem of colour and design. There is nothing more attractive or artistic in the show than the wnter-colour No. 7G, "Myrtle," a well-drawn impression of black, blue, and soft flesh tones. It holds one willi its artistic simplicity. No. 69, "Bella," has similar quality. No. 71, "Intake of Wounded," is beautiful in design and luminous In Its simplicity and fine draw-
These arc but a few of the fine pictures, apart from some larger compositions denl ing with the war. There are also more than 40 drawings and designs showing Coates's fine gift as a draughtsman.
Tills remarkable exhibition, which will bo open until May 19, should be seen by
Louis McCubbin's Works
The Scdon Gallery, Elizabeth House, 340 Little Collins street, will open to-day with an exhibition of 27 canvases by Louis Mc- cubbin. They embrace the interest of landscape at Trawool, Anglesea, and the Goulburn Uiver. There is much good colour quality throughout the exhibition, but most of the pictures miss the quality of the broad and simple masses with which nature Is represented by the brush. There is no doubt of the advantage of making a solid hill with paint and after- ward clothing it with rocks, trees, and beautiful passages of light and shade. It is essential first to construct a broad and simple mass of hill as a base.
Two of the artist's works, No. 12, "Red Rock, Anglesea," and No. l8, "Lorne," hove more of the simplicity referred to, and they are the best and most vital works In the show. No. 12 is beautifully atmospheric, has good colour, and gives a fine impression of the subject. No. 20, "The Valley of the Goulburn," No. 11, "From the CllfT, Anglesea," and No. 21, "Grey Bush," are instances of complexity in place of simplicity.
No. 3. "The Spire." has nil the charac- ter of this subject, but it needs mossing. No. 5, "The Chinese Vase," the most im- portant exhibit, retains sufficient detail and fine colour, and yet Is simpler, more solid, aud massive than most of the land-
The exhibition will close on May 19,
The exhibition of eight members of the Meldrum group of artists, which will open to-day at 127 Queen street, is almost up to the average of the group. One can only express one's own outlook in viewing exhibitions, and. although these exhibi- tions possess their own charoctcr clearly defined, mid are unlike all other shows, one feels thal, despite their individuality, there might well be greater variety or individuality in the outlook or vision of the different members of the group. They appear to be too closely related techni- cally. Simplicity in the expression of light and dark and colour is only one of the problems of painting. It docs not embrace all the qualities of fine painting. Simple masses arc not the end or final accomplishment of art. Some pictures which are wanting in tonal qualities and true relation to nature in light and dark have other qualities which distinguish them as great works of art. Happily fine art Is not confined by any laws. There are hundreds of ways of being right.
Of the 16 works on view, three hung in juxtaposition hold the attention splen- didly when viewed at a distance of 10 feet-No. 15, "The Georgian Olinda," and No. 16, "Olinda Landscape," by Max Mel- drum. They arc well arranged, with good distribution of light and dark. So is No. 4, "The Trestle Bridge," by Colin Colahan. The important features of these works are well set forth In the canvases, but the painters seem to renounce any additional qualities which might be mis- taken for prettiness or any trivial ex- pression. No. 13, "At Inverloch," by Ida Meldrum, is a clear and truthful impres- sion of nature. Justus Jorgensen shows No. 9, "Dahlias." and No. 10, "Still Life." Percy Leason is represented by No. 11, "Landscape, Eltham," and No. 12, "Still
The exhibition will close on May 19.
Opening' of Exhibition
"There is a lively vlvaclousness about the work of the late G. J. Coates which impresses itself on the memory," the Lord Mayor (Councillor H. Gengoult Smith) said in declaring the exhibition open. The principal features of the work of tile artist, he added, were Its strength, tech- nique, and attention to detail. Coates had a reputation not only in Australia and in England, but also on the Continent of Europe. At least one of the pictures in the exhibition had been hung st the Paris Salon. This hod been accomplished not by the use of any influence, but was due solely to the merits of the picture. That was one of the greatest compliments that could be paid to any artist.
The Lord Mayor was introduced by Mr. R. W. E. Wilmot, whose portrait Is one of the pictures on exhibition. The interest in the exhibition was indicated by the large attendance at the opening cere- mony. ________~