John Russell: Australia's Lost Impressionist
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John Russell, the subject of a current major exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, changed the way the world sees colour…
Australia’s Lost Impressionist – John Russell tells the fascinating story behind the only Australian artist at the centre of the Impressionist movement in France and how his famous friendships forever changed the way the world sees colour.
John Russell (1858-1930) painted in France alongside Claude Monet, he mentored Henri Matisse and was a close friend of Vincent Van Gogh. Russell exhibited at the1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris and his work entered the Louvre collection in 1949. Russell’s portrait of Van Gogh was purchased by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam in 1938 and is documented as Van Gogh’s favourite.
In 2017, director Catherine Hunter and cameraman Bruce Inglis travelled to Belle-Ile, the charming windswept island off Brittany where Russell lived for 20 years. This island is virtually unchanged since the 1800s. The beguiling coastline of Belle-Ile was a continual source of inspiration for Russell and his contemporaries.
This insightful documentary explores Russell’s intriguing life through the eyes of a new generation of Australian painters as they discover Russell for themselves. Highly respected contemporary artists Luke Sciberras and Euan Macleod travelled with Catherine Hunter to Belle-Ile and their impressions and inspired work feature in the film.
Russell was handsome, wealthy, debonair and being Australian, quite exotic in 19th Century France. Yet despite his own artistic accomplishments and his pivotal role in the development of modern art, his name and his art have been largely unrecognised outside rarefied art circles. This documentary, Australia’s Lost Impressionist – John Russell, explores his enormous legacy on 20th-century art through his paintings and his friendships.
DVD region: 4 - Australia, NZ, Latin America