100 Highlights from the Cbus Collection of Australian Art
27 July 2022


(1895 - 1988)

oil on canvas

102.0 x 137.0 cm

signed and dated lower right: L. REES 82
inscribed with title verso: MORNING VISION (LANE COVE RIVER)

$120,000 – $160,000
Sold for $122,727 (inc. BP) in Auction 70 - 27 July 2022, Melbourne

Joseph Brown Gallery, Melbourne, acquired directly from the artist
The Cbus Collection of Australian Art, Melbourne, acquired from the above on 3 June 1991


Morning, Noon and Night, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria, 13 July – 13 October 2019
on long term loan to Wollongong City Gallery, New South Wales  


Nainby, B., Stanhope, Z., and Furlonger, K., The Cbus Collection of Australian Art, in association with Latrobe Regional Gallery, Melbourne, 2009, pp. 74 (illus.), 231  

Catalogue text

We are grateful to Brenda Martin Thomas, wife of the late David Thomas AM, for kindly allowing us to reproduce David's research and writing in this catalogue entry.

For many years, Lloyd Rees rightfully held the position of the grand old man of Australian art, his eminence still felt today in the treasures he bequeathed to all. Inspired throughout his life by the genius of J.M.W. Turner, in his later years he rose out of the solid form and superb draughtsmanship of his earlier years to create visionary paintings full of luminosity. Rees' Morning Vision (Lane Cove River), 1982 is an essay about light, ennobled by the vision that comes with age following a lifetime of achievement. 'If there is one thing I want now', he once said, 'is for my paintings to be light right through'. Referring to the Impressionists and the great fresco painters of Italy and 'the sense of the painting being on a light background', he added 'This is what I am trying to do here, to make the lightness of the canvas the dominating thing'.1

All of Rees’ later paintings celebrate light in both technique and subject whether they be of sunlit Sydney or the twilight moments of Hobart. Water often plays a prominent part, graced by the white sails of yachts, as in Dusk on the Derwent, Tasmania, 1985 or The Waterfall, Tasmania, 1982, in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. The time of day likewise plays a significant role, not only in the changing appearances from dawn, through noon to dusk, but also metaphorically. Like the ages of man, the sun rising speaks of the beginning, noon the height, and the afternoon into twilight, of maturity into the tranquillity and richer perceptions of the sage. Morning Vision (Lane Cove River), 1982 was painted when Rees was around eighty-seven years old. In its light-drenched panorama of Sydney Harbour, complete with white sails and those looking on, it combines notions of youth, the new day and new life (the sun rises in the east), with the maturity of the day in a concept of Impressionist splendour, couched in that poeticism that distinguishes Rees's late work. Everything is enveloped in a golden haze of optimism. It resonates with yellow, the colour of the sun and life, and dissolves into the visionary with a touch of the heroic. Of the spiritual in the material, nobility of perception combines with the sensuous appeal of paint and lively strokes of the brush, as does form with light. The softness of definition, almost diaphanous, not only embraces the miracle of light and its beauty, but also evokes an atmosphere of embracing calm and enlightenment. It touches upon the transcendental, recalling the great masters, especially Claude Monet at Giverny, expressing the harmony of all things – perceptions of infinity through the everyday.

1. Lloyd Rees, Age, 1982, quoted in Pearce, B., Australian Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2000, p. 287