On this day in March...
The latest entry as part of a regular feature providing a summary of important historical events that relate to the Redfern and its artists.
1 March 1952 Opening of Aspects of Modern Dutch Painting, providing an overview of Dutch painting from Van Gogh onwards. Appel, Van Dongen and Mondrian are among the sixty artists on show, while Van Gogh is represented by three oils dating from his Arles period, including Iris, now in the National Gallery of Canada.
2 March 1972 Final day of Rory McEwen's first exhibition at the Redfern. A successful folk musician-turned-artist, McEwen unveils a series of immaculate watercolours on vellum. His stark compositions, of isolating a single vegetable or flower against a mass of white background, raise eyebrows, and are not cheap, at £400 to £500 each. But critics are won over by their exquisite beauty, and thanks to further shows at the Redfern during this decade, McEwen establishes a reputation as one of the outstanding botanical artists of his time. His precision is achieved by using a sheaf of tiny brushes and a sheet of cartridge paper on which to test out different colours. He has a second show two years later, also running from February to March, which is hailed as "another example of first-class precision painting ... that McEwen can do for the leaf that Audubon did for birds is in no doubt" (The Spectator). This particular exhibition is notable for sparking renewed interest in botanical art during the twentieth-century.