Australian official war artists 1916-1918

Place Oceania: Australia, Victoria, Melbourne
Accession Number ART15334
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 126 cm x 104.5 cm; framed: 145.7 cm x 124.1 cm x 13 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Maker Coates, George
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, South Melbourne, United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London, Kensington & Chelsea, Chelsea
Date made 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts many Australian official war artists who were attached to different divisions of the AIF during the First World War, in a group portrait. The painting was originally owned by Cyril Steele of Melbourne. It was noted that the painting was considered to be an example of Coates' work that was a 'model of well-handled composition' (see: Art in Australia May 15th 1937, p.40.) The group portrait includes the official War Artists; standing l-r: John Longstaff, Charles Bryant, George Lambert, A. Henry Fullwood, James Quinn, H. Septimus Power, Arthur Streeton, seated back l-r: Will Dyson, Fred Leist, front: George Bell.

George Coates (1869-1930) studied painting under L. Bernard Hall between 1895-96 acquiring both respect for the painter's craft and the approach of the Munich School. He won a travelling scholarship in 1896 and went to London next year before moving to Paris, where he worked at the Académie Julian and studied under Jean Paul Laurens. In Paris, Coates renewed an acquaintance with a fellow art student, Dora Meeson (1869-1955) who later became his wife. Coates and Meeson established themselves in Chelsea, London where they became members of an extensive circle of Australian expatriate artists. Coates established himself as one of London's leading portrait painters, where he lived until returning to Australia in 1921, and his realism and representational style emphasized a harmonious range of low tones, with a detailed and painstaking approach.