Jan Hendrik Scheltema, Early Morning Start, Gippsland, c.1895, oil on canvas, 61.2 x 102cm (photo: Collection Gippsland Art Gallery. Purchased with the assistance of the John Leslie Foundation, 2018).

Australia: Jan Hendrik Scheltema, the lost Impressionist

The Gippsland Art Gallery presents recently discovered works of Dutch-Australian impressionist Jan Hendrik Scheltema (The Hague 1861― Brisbane 1941).
25 May 2020

Until recently, little was remembered about the Dutch-born Australian painter J.H. Scheltema, whose paintings are still found in galleries and private collections all over the world. Jan Hendrik Scheltema was born in the Hague and became a figure painter and portrait painter before moving to Australia in 1888. In Australia, he turned to landscapes and the livestock genre, particularly cattle. He painted mainly around Victoria and lived in Melbourne where he also taught painting and drawing. In Australia, Scheltema’s paintings are held in collections such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Recent discoveries

In early 2019, over 800 pages of handwritten letters he wrote from Australia back home to his family came to light in the Netherlands. These letters are now in the State Library of Victoria. Also discovered in 2019 were several of his paintings kept by his Dutch family and their descendants. These were recently gifted to the Gippsland Art Gallery by their owner.

A new (temporarily online) exhibition

The Gippsland Art Gallery decided to organise an exhibition of these works, but due to the Covid-19 crisis, the exhibition is currently only available online. However, it will be open to the public when the Gallery is able to reopen its doors. In the meantime, the Gippsland Art Gallery has made the exhibition available online and added a virtual 360 exhibition tour available on their YouTube channel – please see these links:

Online exhibition website |  www.gippslandartgallery.com/exhibition/jan-hendrik-scheltema-the-lost-impressionist/  

Exhibition Feature video |  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2WYSUSd030

360 Exhibition Tour |  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWlvqeQUv74

Find Scheltema on Wikipedia |  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hendrik_Scheltema