An image of Deviation work

J J Hilder

(Australia 23 Jul 1881 – Apr 1916)

Deviation work

Other titles:
The deviation work
Not on display
Further information

J J Hilder was the most admired of all early 20th century Australian watercolourists who died very young of tuberculosis in 1916. 'Deviation work' is one of the biggest, most restrained and reductive of his watercolours, a poetic distillation of the qualities that set Hilder apart from his contemporaries and his many followers – painted in delicate, fluid and shimmering washes of watercolour, spare and original in composition. The subject is the Lithgow entrance (portal) to tunnel number 9, one of the deviations of the Zig-Zag railway line in the Blue Mountains during construction in 1913. There is another watercolour in a private collection by Hilder of the same railway tunnel from ground level.

The elevated view of the tunnel in strong sunlight in 'Deviation work' accentuates its abstract and poetic qualities, rather like Arthur Streeton's Fire's on (painting & watercolour), where incident is secondary to the intense midday summer light and its daring design.

(circa 1913)
pencil, watercolour
65.0 x 52.0 cm sight
Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, ?black watercolour "J.J. Hilder". Not dated.

Bequest of Julius Wilfred (Wilf) Hilder 2011
Accession number