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Detail of pale yellow and off white painting with a lit candle bottom left
Lloyd Rees, "The Sunlit Tower (detail)" (1985), oil on canvas

This luminous image comes from Lloyd Rees (1895-1988), an Australian landscape painter who twice won the Wynne Prize, one of Australia’s longest-running and most prestigious art prizes.

Until the last 20 years of his life, he drew and painted meticulous landscapes concerned with complexity. With the onset of macular degeneration, his work became more abstract and concerned with essences. As Renée Free writes of his late work: “There is simplification to the point of universal form; there is mastery of technique to the point where it no longer matters. There is direct communication from the centre of the artist’s being.”

Rees painted until his death, saying that one of the advantages of low-sightedness was that he could finally look at the sun. He painted The Sunlit Tower (1986) at the age of 91. It was awarded the Jack Manton Prize from the Queensland Art Gallery the following year.

Simple painting that is pale yellow and white with a yellow candle in the bottom, left corner.
Lloyd Rees, “The Sunlit Tower” (1986), oil on canvas


Norma Olson 3:05 am | 01.06.18

Rees discovered a new perspective and it gives me hope. I have just been diagnosed with macular degeneration and am trying to find out how others have dealt with it. I’d love to learn more about Rees during those 20 years.

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