Australian official war artists 1916-1918
ID numberART15334
Collection typeArt
TitleAustralian official war artists 1916-1918
Measurementoverall: 124.2 cm x 104.5 cm
Object typePainting
MakerCoates, George
Date made1920
Physical descriptionoil on canvas
CopyrightCopyright expired - public domain
DescriptionDepicts 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: (Sir) John Longstaff, Charles Bryant, George Lambert, A. Henry Fullwood, James Quinn, 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.