Many poets, artists and filmmakers have appreciated the expansive Michelago Valley, situated south of Canberra in the Monaro region of New South Wales. Along with his mentor George Lambert, Elioth Gruner (1882- 1939) was captivated by the subtle play of light across the valley. When he died at the age of 57 in 1939, he left two large paintings of Michelago Valley unfinished, and the Gruner Estate donated them to the National Art School as teaching aids for the students.
Gruner’s approach to painting is fascinating to see, and both works display immaculately finished skies and very raw unfinished foregrounds. Despite this, the works are framed as if completed, and the second painting contains one central soft cloud, hovering over the distant hills, creating a feeling of calm and tranquility.
Images: Elioth Gruner, Michelago Valley, c1938, oil on canvas, 91 x 136 cm, National Art School Collection, gift of the Gruner estate, c1939; Elioth Gruner, Unfinished landscape (detail), c1938,oil on canvas, 101 x 120 cm, National Art School Collection, gift of the Gruner estate, c1939