Hans Heysen by Lou Klepac
Hans Heysen is one of the giants of Australian art who transformed the way we see the Australian landscape during the first two decades of Federation. Back from four years of study in Europe at the end of 1903, he achieved an astronomical success within twelve months of his return. Two major works were acquired by State Galleries and he was awarded the Wynne Prize, the first of nine times. In December 1904 he married Sallie Bartels who became his perfect partner. They moved to Hahndorf in 1908 and in 1912 acquired The Cedars, a house and property which proved to be the ideal home for Heysen the painter and his large family.
Heysen's art is the result of great technical skill and his passion and understanding of the Australian landscape. What to others was 'the bush', for Heysen it was the miraculous and mystical essence of nature. He was inspired by light and the landscape of Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills, which he transformed into an Arcadian vision that can still haunt us with its sense of timeless beauty. Not only did he produce a range of masterpieces such as Red Gold (1912); Droving into the Light (1921) and The Three Gums (1921), but he also ventured into the Flinders Ranges in 1926, where he discovered a primordial landscape. Some of his finest works are the result of his many visits to the interior of the continent, which captured his imagination to the end of his life.