“A little landscape dad bought on his travels” – works from the Strachan art collection offered at Melbourne auction

Turf Stacks in Connemara by Paul Henry – estimated at Aus$60,000-80,000 at Leonard Joel.

Among the pictures from a notable Australian art collection that have emerged at Melbourne saleroom Leonard Joel is a small landscape with turf stacks by Irish artist Paul Henry (1877-1958).

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Alex Capon

Works by the artist appear frequently in Irish and UK salerooms but it is far more unusual for a painting by the Belfast-born painter – whose favoured subject matter was views of the west of Ireland – to emerge in Australia.

Turf Stacks in Connemara, a 14.25 x 16in (36 x 41cm) signed oil on canvas, is one of 10 pictures from the Strachan family collection that has been consigned to the Fine Art Auction on September 3.

The collection was primarily put together by James Ford Strachan III and IV – the grandson and great-grandson of James Ford Strachan, who emigrated to Tasmania from Scotland in 1832 and became a wealthy wool merchant and politician.

The family later settled in Melbourne where they built the first brick building in the city. The works were consigned from the estate of James Ford Strachan IV.

The stark and atmospheric landscape was believed to have been acquired by James Ford Strachan III – it was thought it to be “a little landscape dad bought on his travels”.

Leonard Joel’s head of art Olivia Fuller attributed the work to Henry, an attribution upheld by Dr SB Kennedy, an expert on the artist who said “the composition and use of light are typical of Henry’s style of work”.

It will be estimated at Aus$60,000-80,000.

Overall, the 10 works from the collection are valued at Aus$100,000 and will also include Australian pictures by the likes of Hans Heysen (1877-1968) and Arthur Streeton (1867-1943).

The work by German-born Heysen is a signed 10.75 x 15in (27.5 x 38cm) watercolour which depicts a coastal landscape. It is fairly typical of the works he exhibited in Melbourne and is pitched at Aus$7000-9000.

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The Streeton picture is a 14.25 x 21in (36 x 53.5cm) oil on canvas dating from c.1922. While the bulk of the artist’s works feature his homeland, this is a rarer example of a non-Australian scene, in this case the twin bays of Vancouver. It was part of a group of Canadian landscapes which form a smaller but significant part of Streeton’s oeuvre.

In January 1922, Streeton and his wife set sail for England via Canada, disembarking at Vancouver and travelling across country to St Mary’s, Ontario, where they spent three months. They returned there the following year from London for another painting trip.

It is estimated at Aus$12,000-18,000.