Important Australian + International Fine Art
20 April 2011


(1867 - 1943)

oil on canvas

60.0 x 50.0 cm

signed lower right: A. STREETON

bears title verso

$45,000 - 55,000
Sold for $50,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 19 - 20 April 2011, Melbourne

Private collection, Melbourne
Sotheby's, Sydney, 26 August 2003, lot 139
Private collection, Sydney


Exhibition of Arthur Streeton's Paintings, Athenaeum Gallery, Melbourne, 4–16 June 1934, cat. 17


Streeton, A., The Arthur Streeton Catalogue, Arthur Streeton, Melbourne, 1935, cat. 1096

Catalogue text

During the 1920s and '30s Arthur Streeton painted over one hundred and fifty flowers pictures in response to both his own interest and that of his many admiring collectors. The subjects came from his garden, first in Toorak, Melbourne, and later the fruitful five acres of his property 'Longacres' at Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges. Preferring exotics over natives, he so admired roses that in 1932 he devoted an entire exhibition to them. The very appealing Foxgloves and Stocks was included in Streeton's solo exhibition of a few years later, Harold Herbert, art critic for The Argus describing the 'many beautiful flower pieces all painted with the wizardry that is Streeton's own.'1

Critic and collector alike praised them for their realism. 'In every instance the quality of the bloom is delightfully preserved', wrote Herbert, adding that Streeton '...presents his flower pieces full of fragrant freshness and convincing realism.' Admirers were so enamoured that they were known to remark that you could almost smell them. The blooms of stocks are very heavy-scented! Foxgloves and Stocks is a highly characteristic work in which Streeton placed the vase of flowers against a dark background to enhance the play of light across the colours and delicate textures of the blooms.

Flowers have long held a special place in art, artists of Medieval and Renaissance times often including them for symbolic purposes. The lily, for example, was an emblem of purity, the red rose of love, and Shakespeare's Ophelia reminded us that rosemary was for remembrance. In the nineteenth century, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh created masterpieces in which form and emotional response were the focus of their attention. While Streeton was chiefly interested in their appearance, capturing their transient beauty with painterly bravura, foxgloves and stocks do have considerable symbolic significance. Insincerity, involving fairy folk and foxes for foxgloves is offset by their important therapeutic use through digitalis, so helpful for healing certain heart conditions. Stocks extend the positive symbolism, representing a happy and contented life.

1. Herbert, H., 'The Art Of Arthur Streeton: Exhibition At Athenaeum Gallery', Argus, Melbourne,
5 June 1934, p. 5