Charles Conder’s The coming of Spring is a delightfully tiny concoction, all watery high colour and soft atmospherics. It reflects Conder’s passion for Japanese woodblock prints in the truncated decorative elements and homage to the aesthetics of Japanese design. While this shimmering landscape may have been painted in Conder’s studio, it is spontaneous and fresh with memories of sojourns in the Hawkesbury district with Julian Ashton. While Conder spent only eight years in Australia and his later work is typified by fanciful landscapes, Coming of spring shows an underlying sensitivity to the Australian bush, and is underpinned by his association with the Heidelberg School artists Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010