Gum trees, Dandenong
oil on board
29.5 x 21.5 cm
|A passionate tonalist, Duncan Max Meldrum (1875 - 1955) wrote and lectured extensively about his beliefs in the virtues of his chosen style. He gained a devotional following after opening his own school in 1917 in Kew, Melbourne, where he taught the importance of objectively observing tonal values above all other painterly considerations. Meldrum's oratory and artistic skills made him widely popular and he embarked on a lecture tour of the United States. Among his followers stood Colin Colahan, Hayward Veal, and the Leason brothers.
Meldrum was a polarising figure in the Australian art scene, and was critical of society in general. He spent thirteen years living in France before the First World War, and his earlier work is greatly influenced by the Great Masters he studied abroad. Meldrum served as a trustee for the National Gallery of Victoria for eight years until 1945, and a large retrospective of his work toured state galleries in 1954, a year before his death.
His work is held in all state collections as well as many regional and other public collections, and he was awarded the Archibald Prize twice--in 1939 and 1940.
REF: McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Miegunyah Press, 2006, p. 674-75.