GRUNER, Elioth (1882-1939)

GRUNER, Elioth (1882-1939)
was born at Gisborne, New Zealand, on 16 December 1882. His father, Elioth Gruner, was a Norwegian, his mother was Irish. He was brought to Sydney before he was a year old and at an early age showed a desire to draw. When about 12 years old his mother took him to Julian Ashton who gave him his first lessons in art. His father and elder brother having died, the boy had to help to maintain the household, and at 34 obtained a position in a shop where he worked from 7.40 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. He managed to do some painting at week-ends, and about 1901 began to send work to the exhibitions of the Society of Artists at Sydney. About 10 years of hard work followed before the merit of his work was recognized. In 1911 a small shop was started in Bligh-street, Sydney, to sell works of art produced in Australia and for a time Gruner took charge of it. He then became an assistant to Julian Ashton at the Sydney Art School, and during Ashton's illness took complete charge of the classes for about three months. In 1916 he was the winner of the Wynne art prize with a small landscape "Morning Light" which was purchased by the national gallery of New South Wales. He was the winner of the Wynne prize again in 1919, and in the following year the trustees commissioned him to paint a large picture for the gallery "The Valley of the Tweed". Though this was awarded the Wynne prize in 1921 and is a capable work it scarcely ranks among his best efforts. He seldom afterwards took anything larger than a 24-inch canvas.
In 1923 Gruner visited Europe and was away for more than two years. The effect of travel on his work was very noticeable. There was generally a good deal of simplification, more attention to pattern, and a freer and wider sweep of his brush. He was less interested in the problems of light and occasionally his work took on a slightly cold aspect. The changes were not always welcomed by his admirers, but Gruner was right not to allow himself to fall into a groove. In 1927 he held a one man show, but he was not a very productive artist and henceforth he was in a position to sell practically everything he produced. He spent much time in finding a suitable subject, and more in carefully considering it before a brush was put to the canvas. He became interested in the study of light again, and some excellent work of his latest period combined the qualities of his first and second periods. He died at Sydney on 17 October 1939. He never married. He is well represented at the national gallery at Sydney, and examples will also be found at Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong and Castlemaine. Nearly all his work was in landscape but he did a few flower pieces and interiors, and a small number of dry-points. Memorial exhibitions of his work were held in Sydney and Melbourne in 1940.
Gruner had few interests outside his work. He was scarcely a great draughtsman but had a beautiful feeling for delicate colour, light, and atmosphere. He is entitled to a high place among Australian painters.
The Art of Elioth Gruner; Art in Australia, 1929 and 1933; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 October 1939; D. Lindsay, Catalogue, Melbourne Memorial Exhibition.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • Gruner — /ˈgrunə/ (say groohnuh) noun Elioth (Elliott) Lauritz Leganyer, 1882–1939, Australian landscape painter, born in NZ; seven times winner of the Wynne Prize …  

  • Elioth Gruner — (16 December 1882 – 17 October 1939) was a New Zealand born Australian painter, winner of the Wynne Prize seven times.Early lifeGruner was born at Gisborne, New Zealand. His father, also Elioth Gruner, was a Norwegian, his mother was Irish. He… …   Wikipedia

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