Big sky and Long legacy


The Australian landscape artist, Leonard Long OAM, has died. First encouraged to draw by a kindly nun, he was, at 102 years of age, a living link to the legacy of the Heidelberg School. His work captured the essence of Australian landscape.

Long died in Melbourne, where funeral prayers were offered at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.   - Matthew Westwood filed this obituary for The Australian.

His subjects were mountains, rivers, big skies and sculptural eucalypts, putting him in the artistic tradition of Australia's great landscapists. Leonard Long, who has died in Melbourne at the age of 102, stopped painting only when he was 101.

His nephew, artist Kim Nelson, said Long painted in the tradition of such emblematic landscape artists as Arthur Streeton, Hans Heysen and Albert Namatjira.

'Len is probably the last tangible connection to the heyday of traditional Australian landscape that started with the Heidelberg School,' Nelson said.

Long was born in 1911 and grew up in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney. He went to a convent school and was encouraged to draw by one of the more kindly nuns.

Trained as a watchmaker, he would paint every morning before work, dreaming of the day he could make a living from his art.

At one of his first commercial shows, at the Society of Artists in Sydney, Sir Keith Murdoch bought one of his pictures. Long kept the invoice, dated October 10, 1941. His work is held in public and private collections, including the Queen Mother's collection in Britain.

"In a sense, Len came into a good period because he was prepared to do large blockbuster works of the essential Australia, the Australia that he loved," Nelson said. "These were the mega-works that corporations loved to have in their boardrooms."

On a trip to central Australia in the 1950s, he painted with Namatjira and the two artists showed their work together.

Long had an intense emotional connection with nature, often painting en plein air around the Shoalhaven, the Dandenongs and the Flinders Ranges...

Full Obituary: Art World Mourns Ardent Traditionalist  (The Australian)


Obiturary in Canberra City News

From the ABC, a reprise of the art and lanscapes of Leonard Long set to Satie's Gymnopedie

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