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George Garden Colville, Scottish Artist


Painting 15.5" x 19.5", frame 22" x 26".


George Garden Colville (Scottish 1887 - 1970)


St Ives Harbour, Cornwall, Oil on board, signed lower right.

Both painting and frame are in excellent condition.

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1887, George Colville moved to Australia in 1892. Around 1910 he began studying painting at the National Gallery of Victoria School of Art under Frederick McCubbin and Bernard Hall.

In 1914, Colville enlisted and served overseas for four years in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, and France and England. Although not an official war artist, he produced sketches and news sheets for fellow soldiers in Gallipoli.

After the First World War, Colville became a founding member of the Twenty Melbourne Painters. He also exhibited his works with the Victorian Art School. Painting for many years, in oil and watercolour, he became widely known for his impressionistic landscapes.  In 1941, Colville applied for a position on the home front as an official war artist, having already executed a number of pictures of munition workers, one of which had been exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria. However, he was not accepted.

It was not until 1949-1950 that Colville became an official war artist. The Australian War Memorial facilitated Colville's joining the Australian troops occupying Japan. His project was to provide a record of the life and activities of the British Commonwealth Occupational Forces, which had been largely an Australian exercise. By the time Colville arrived in Japan, however, the Occupational Forces were being reduced; by June 1950 the remaining troops were sent to fight in the Korean War.

It was agreed that the Memorial would select twenty of the works Colville produced during his stay in Japan. During his time there, Colville traveled with the troops, painting landscapes and scenes of Kure (near Hiroshima), Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama in his inimitable impressionistic style of oil painting. Colville depicted barracks and buildings occupied by the troops, as well as hospitals, hostels and press rooms. Colville also depicted local sites such as Mount Fiji and the Temple at Osaka and the war's aftermath - the bomb sites of Hiroshima and the ANZAC war graves. Twenty-one of these works were donated to the Memorial upon Colville's return and remain part of the Memorial's collection.

After returning to Australia in 1950, Colville won the Albury Prize for oil painting in 1951. Colville's work is represented at the Australian National War Museum, Canberra, and at the Castlemaine and Mildura galleries in Victoria.

Colville continued to paint until his death in Melbourne in 1970 at the age of 83.


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