W C Piguenit was the first locally born and trained landscape painter. Known for his majestic landscapes, Piguenit’s works straddle the late colonial and Federation landscape painting periods. Born in convict Hobart, he spent his early career in Tasmania where he accompanied several expeditions into the Tasmanian wilderness; in 1880
he settled permanently in Sydney.
Near Liverpool, New South Wales is a panoramic view of the Liverpool Plains with a herd of cattle grazing on the side of a track. The glowing greens of the grasses heightened by bright touches of yellow flowers emphasise the lushness of the countryside, while the stand of gum trees in the middle distance identifies this scene as Australian. Characteristically, Piguenit adopted a low vantage point, emphasising the meeting of earth and sky. His masterful depiction of the billowing clouds provides a dramatic counterpoint to the peaceful scene below.
While in his earlier works Piguenit emphasised the grandeur of the wilderness, in his later paintings, such as Near Liverpool, New South Wales, he was increasingly concerned with depicting atmospheric effects and the changing aspects of light during different seasons and at different times of day.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008