Soon to be released on ABC is the documentary, Australia’s Lost Impressionist, John Russell. The film highlights the role Russell played at the forefront of French Impressionism and captures the romance, adventure and closely-held friendships that shaped his life and the course of international modern art. He painted with Monet, introduced Matisse to colour, was Van Gogh’s lifelong friend- yet few know his name in Australia.
He had a lifelong and passionate love affair with his wife and muse, Marianna. When she died at a relatively early age, his heartbreak was so great that he burned the majority of his paintings left in the home, locked up the house on the windswept island of Belle-Ile and never returned.
He assembled a collection of the most avant-guard modern art of the time intended as a gift to the people of Australia. It included a large number of significant works by Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cezanne & Gauguin. The collection was assembled primarily through the exchange of gifts with his artist friends, which in itself is remarkable. After his death, the gift never eventuated and the collection was disbanded, never to grace the walls of the Art Gallery of NSW as he intended.
Made with the support of the ABC, Create NSW, the Documentary Australia Foundation, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Margaret Olley Art Trust, as well as many private donors, the film will broadcast on the ABC on 30 October at 9:30 pm. One not to miss!