Suburban Landscape 1987 [Howard Arkley & Christine Johnson]

Suburban Landscape 1987

Alternate title: Suburban Landscape (Spotted Dog and Spotted Curtain)
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 160 x 121
signed, dated and titled
 [on reverse: 'Howard Arkley '87 / Suburban Landscape (Spotted Dog and Spoted {sic} Curtain' (acc.to Christie's 11/92)]
Private collection, Melbourne

This canvas was first documented in the Greenpeace artists’ benefit exhibition held at the Linden Gallery, St Kilda, in 1990 (see Lew 1990, and Trioli, “The Green-Art Effect” 1990, both with reproductions).

It is a closely similar variant of Suburban Window 1987 [Howard Arkley & Christine Johnson] (shown at Roslyn Oxley9 in Sept.1987), only altering a few details, notably the colour of the curtains (pink with purple dots, rather than the yellow with pink dots of the first version) and surrounding wall (a darker blue), and some aspects of the background landscape. But it retains the central notion of an “obvious stylistic disparity” noted by John McDonald in 1987 in relation to the first version – an idea that Christine Johnson recalls had proved popular, thus explaining the two artists’ production of a replica (telephone communication, 5 October 2015). For more detailed comments on this collaborative process, see the entry on the Roslyn Oxley9 painting, and also the discussion in Carnival (p.147). Johnson also recalls further replicas being made; discussing the present work,  Victoria Lynn (2015, p.51) mentions “at least two” versions of this composition.

This canvas was auctioned by Christie’s November 1992 auction of works from Georges Mora’s estate, as Arkley’s work alone, with the title and and other details as noted above. It may also have been auctioned the year before, by Sotheby’s (see provenance details below), although in the absence of a catalogue photograph it is difficult to be completely certain.

[NB in a previous entry in this catalogue, Suburban Landscape 1987 [aka Suburban Window] [Howard Arkley & Christine Johnson] – now superseded – provenance and exhibition details for this work were inadvertently conflated with those of the Roslyn Oxley9 painting, also dated 1987. For their help with disentangling the complex history of both pictures, thanks are due to Christine Johnson, Victoria Lynn and Anthony Fitzpatrick.]

Provenance

  • (presumably) auctioned by Sotheby’s, Melb., 19 Aug.1991, lot 156, as Howard Arkley: Suburban Landscape (Spotted Dog and Spotted Curtain) (not illustrated; est.$3-5,000; not sold)
  • auctioned by Christie’s, Melb., 24 Nov.1992 (‘The Estate of Georges Mora’), lot 18, as Howard Arkley: Suburban Landscape (Spotted Dog and Spoted [sic] Curtain) (160 x 120 cm; B&W ill.; est.$3-5,000; sold for $2,800 plus buyer’s premium)

Exhibited

  • Linden Gallery, St Kilda, 7/90 (‘Greenpeace Artists’ Benefit’): as Howard Arkley: Suburban Landscape 1987 (courtesy Tolarno Galleries)
  • HA TarraWarra 12/15-2/16 (details as above)

Literature

  • Lew 1990 (as Arkley’s work)
  • Trioli, ‘The Green-Art Effect’ 1990 (Age EG cover story, with colour reproduction, showing Arkley in front of the work)
  • Litson 2001 (including Christine Johnson’s comments on the composition)
  • Carnival 147 and Fig.5.7 (as Suburban Window, by Arkley & Johnson)
  • Fitzpatrick & Lynn, Howard Arkley and Friends (2015), pp.51-52 (Victoria Lynn)