Eugène von Guérard

Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw, Middle Island, New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw, Middle Island, New Zealand by Eugène von Guérard

Artwork Detail

Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw and its companion, Milford Sound with Pembroke Peak and Bowen Falls (Art Gallery of New South Wales), were the most widely exhibited New Zealand paintings of the nineteenth century. Conceived as showcases for the spectacular mountain scenery of the southern sounds, they were the crowning achievement of the artist, Austrian-born Eugene von Guérard, and were displayed in Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and London. Von Guérard worked up the canvasses in his Melbourne studio from sketches made during a journey to New Zealand on the steamship Otago in January 1876. Anomalies in the view of Wakatipu, such as the crisp reflection of the mountains in the breeze-ruffled surface of the lake, and the fact that the waka is travelling backwards, do not detract from the sublime splendour of the panorama captured in the glow of early evening. The grand conception and sheer scale of the work place von Guérard well ahead of local painters such as John Gully and W. M. Hodgkins, who also attempted heroic landscapes. Von Guérard trained in Düsseldorf and Rome before travelling to Australia, where his long career as Melbourne's pre-eminent landscape painter, Master of the Art School, and Curator of the Victorian National Gallery, resulted in some antipathy from the art establishment. He returned to Austria in 1882, but eventually settled in England. (from The Guide, 2001)

Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw, Middle Island, New Zealand
Eugène von Guérard
Production date
oil on canvas
991 x 1765 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1971
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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