Sunday, 10 January 2010


“Hope, deceitful as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.” - François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The black mood has left me and today I felt much better. Sadness, just like happiness is fleeting. It a wise person who does not dwell to much on either one of these emotions… According to the Greek historian, Herodotus, the King of Persia once called all of the wisest men of the kingdom together. When they were assembled the king said that he wanted them to discover one truth “a single truth that will be true for all men at all times.” The wise men retreated and disputed among themselves. And after much time they came back to the king and told him they had his answer. When the king asked for this absolute truth, the chief wise man answered...
“And this too shall pass away.”

For Art Sunday today, an Australian artist, Charles Conder (1868-1909). Charles Conder, or ‘K’ as he was known to his friends, was the third of five children and was born on 24 October 1868 at Tottenham, Middlesex, England. He arrived in Sydney on 13 June 1884 and met with another great Austraian artist, Tom Roberts, in Sydney in March 1888. Roberts encouraged Conder to visit Melbourne and in the Spring of 1888, Conder painted with Roberts at the Box Hill camp. From May 1889 to April 1890, Conder lived at Eaglemont and shared the old farmhouse on the Mount Eagle estate with Arthur Streeton. It was here that Conder and his fellow artists planned the 9 x 5 Impression Exhibition, at which Conder exhibited 46 works. He returned to Europe on 26 April 1890, and married Stella Maris Belford in Paris on 5 December 1901. Charles Conder died on 9 February 1909 at Virginia Water, Windsor, England.

This painting of his, “A Holiday At Mentone” is a favourite of mine. It was painted in Melbourne in 1888, at the then seaside resort town of Mentone to Melbourne’s South. Today Mentone is a seaside suburb, fairly close to the City. This painting is suffused by harsh, bright, Australian sunlight, just like we had today (tomorrow we are expecting a top of 41˚C). It is almost surrealistic in its effect, given the Victorian seaside holiday dress, which seems hardy different to what they would be wearing in town. The man lying on the sand right at the middle of the painting has struck me as particularly odd and quite funny. The hats worn by everyone are also amusing and hardly the sort of headgear that would provide sun protection. The promenade along the sea and also on the raised walkway is what the painting is all about. One went on holidays to be seen and to see, and also it may have provided one of the few opportunities for flirting…


  1. I'm not familiar with this painting, but it is lovely and appealing. I agree the beach costumes are quite humorous. It's interesting that from my view at least, the people seem slightly translucent, as if you can see through them, or as if they become part of the beach.

  2. I am happy to hear you are feeling better, Nic!
    The painting is lovely and makes me long for summer!
    Do people still use the beach for swimming there?