Important Australian + International Fine Art
1 September 2010

Sam Fullbrook

(1922 - 2004)

oil on canvas

125.0 x 107.0 cm

signed lower right: SF
label attached verso: WYNNE. 72 / S. FULLBROOK / LANDSCAPE AT / MARCOOLA.
inscribed verso: W 187/22

$25,000 - 35,000
Sold for $72,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 16 - 1 September 2010, Sydney

Joseph Brown Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne


Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 1971, Farmer's Blaxland Gallery, Sydney, 10 February – 1 March 1972, cat. 22

Catalogue text

Sam Fullbrook has an enviable record as a gifted landscape artist and portrait painter. Twice winner of the Wynne Prize, he added the 1974 Archibald Prize to his illustrious achievements with his portrait of Jockey Norman Stephens. Others of conspicuous quality include Portrait of James Wigley 1964-65 in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and the magnificent Ernestine Hill 1970 in the Queensland Art Gallery. His 1963 Wynne Prize winning landscape, Sandhills on the Darling was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, while another related river subject, Trees on the Darling, shared the 1964 prize with David Strachan. In these Darling River series of paintings, including River Idyll 1964 in the Queensland Art Gallery collection, Fullbrook captured the dry landscape in pale tones and soft colour harmonies.

When he moved to Brisbane and then to an old plantation house at Buderim overlooking the Sunshine Coast, his colours underwent an exotic change in keeping with subtropical Queensland. A typical painting of this time, Seascape with Mango and Birds 1966, in the Art Gallery of Western Australian, provides a tropical idyll of deep blues and rich greens. By 1970, however, his landscape palette had again become lighter and more aqueous, as seen in the aerial landscape Estuarine 1970. About this time he also turned to flower painting, his Flowerpiece 1985 in the Parliament House Collection, Canberra typifying the illusory, almost abstract approach he used. This is apparent in Landscape at Marcoola 1971 where his preoccupation with colour and his mastery of luminosity is so encompassing that the painting is balanced very finely between figuration and abstraction. Marcoola, which is named after its location between Maroochydore and Coolum, lies on the Queensland Sunshine Coast with the Mt Coolum National Park behind. Paintings inspired by this region, were included in his 1971 exhibition at David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Landscape and Marine with Flowers, being one of two paintings purchased by Joseph Brown of Melbourne.

Landscape at Marcoola celebrates fruitful luxuriance through the alla prima application of colours with the opalescent beauty of a rainbow. While colour is of greater interest than topographical suggestion, Fullbrook also uses a refined simplicity as the intuitive doorway through to ideas complex and profound. There is likewise a characteristic touch of cheeky wit in the intriguing visual conceit of inversion. The landscape is upside down, the blue sky and white clouds reflect in the bottom of the composition with the mass of land and flowers above. Its echoing elegance casts aside all notions of a top and a bottom providing a highly idiosyncratic interpretation of the landscape of the antipodes.