Lost in the Bushfires - Perspectives No. 453
Lost in the Bushfires
Tragically, only a small number of paintings by Australian Impressionist, Clara Southern (1860-1940) are still in existence today. Southern was a well-known artist, teacher, and promoter of the professional rights of women in the arts. Her list of achievements is long and includes many "firsts" — first woman member of the Australian Artists' Association, election to the Buonarotti Society and election to the Council of the Victorian Artists' Society, among others.
Unfortunately, Warrandyte and the region surrounding it were at high risk of bushfires. In 1939, devastating bushfires destroyed many of her major works. The Artists' Bushfire Relief Fund, to which she contributed work, held an exhibition to aid artists who had suffered loss in the fires. Southern's home, on a hill above the Yarra River, was spared in the 1939 fires, but destroyed in later bushfires.
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