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Taylor the (chiaroscuro)

In the series of unknown painters, I offer you an Australian UFO unearthed in the collection of the State Library Victoria: T.G. Taylor (1838-1913). Of the artist, we know practically nothing, except that he practiced watercolor and oil painting and that he presented canvases at the Universal Exhibition in London in 1862.

But what is striking are the two paintings he painted in 1853 and which represent exactly the same place: a road under construction near Mount Macedon, a village located 64 kilometers north of Melbourne.

T.G. Taylor. Clair de lune Campement du percement de route en Forêt Noire près du Mont Macedon - Victoria. 1853. State Library Victoria - Australia
T.G. Taylor. Clair de lune Campement du percement de route en Forêt Noire près de Mount Macedon - Victoria. 1853. State Library Victoria - Australia

These paintings were sold at Sotheby's (London) in 1990. They depict a section of road being built through the forest showing cleared ground and woodland on either side. A tent advertising the cafe in the foreground is clearly labeled 'Diggers' Rest / Refreshments & Stores / by Bill Smigs / VDL', suggesting they were made to order for the bar owner.

The painting of the moonlit scene offers a dreamlike sky whose silvery glow only radiates from the background, while it is the fire in the foreground that projects its orange glow on the tents and piles of logs. The men are represented at rest in the open clearings. In the foreground, a horseman, probably a soldier as evidenced by the saber he is carrying, discusses with one of the woodcutters.

T.G. Taylor.Petit Matin. Campement du percement de route en Forêt Noire près du Mont Macedon - Victoria. 1853. State Library Victoria - Australia
T.G. Taylor.Petit Matin. Campement du percement de route en Forêt Noire près de Mount Macedon - Victoria. 1853. State Library Victoria - Australia

In the early morning, on the other hand, the men resumed their activities, under the pallid, milky glow of the sky, which drives the bluish darkness of the night towards the right.

Winslow Homer. Moonlight. 1874.
Winslow Homer. Moonlight. 1874.

TG Taylor's style is indefinable. The naive touch in the figuration of the characters fades away in front of the incredible representation of the holed sky of a moon similar to the explosion of a supernova in a circular blast. This evocation is similar to the Clair de Lune that Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Taylor's almost twin, painted 21 years later with the subtle use of backlighting and the foam of the waves breaking on the right. characters...

The early morning painting is closer to the illustration with its pastel colors with acid hints.


328 Swanston Street

Melbourne 3000

Australia


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