James R. Jackson in the Press
Manly Daily, 7/12/2013: Take an impression
Opening of Early Impressions: James R. Jackson exhibition....
Manly Daily, 1/12/2012: Remembering great artist
James R. Jackson (1882-1975) was an impressionist painter in the vein of Arthur Streeton and E. Phillips Fox. He lived much of his life in Seaforth and his home had a view over The Spit. He painted The Spit Bridge many times.
An exhibition of his work has been curated by fine art dealers Brigitte Banziger and David Hulme of Banziger Hulme Fine Arts. It comprises work from the gallery and private collections from all over the country. It will be shown exclusively at Manly.
"One of the great things about his work is the light,", Mr Hulme said. "Like a lot of Australian painters, I think Jackson had to spend some time overseas and then come back to Australia to appreciate the light in this country."
According to Mr Hulme, Jackson was also influenced by his contemporaries, particularly E Phillips Fox, an artist who also painted scenes of Manly. "He (Jackson) was one of many artists who went to and studied in Venice,", he said. "Some of his Venice paintings are included in the exhibition."
Manly Daily, December 2012: Paper's brush with greatness
It's the painting that won a Manly Daily art competition in 1923 and led to the establishment of Manly Art Gallery in 1930. Now it will be front-and-centre at an upcoming exhibition at the gallery of works by James Jackson. Manly Art Gallery and Museum will exhibit 21 paintings by Jackson, many of which have been borrowed from other museums, galleries and private collections. It has been curated by Brigitte Banziger and David Hulme, and will be opened by art historian and publisher Lou Klepac ...
Manly Art Gallery and Museum director Jackie Dunn said she was pleased to be able to exhibit so many of Jackson's paintings. "The early paintings are very highly regarded but rarely seen," she said.
"We are very grateful to institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia for their generous loans. As well as the many private lenders who have agreed to part with their prized possessions to allow this exhibition to be staged at Manly, Jackson's spiritual and artistic home."
Manly Daily, 21/10/2000: Portrait of an artist
A brief history of Manly Art Gallery with an extended biography of James R. Jackson
The Sydney Weekly, 18-24/7/1995, p. 26: The Collector - Manly Art Gallery and Museum
It is 1924 and in a small park in Manly opposite the Council Chambers the editor of a local paper, Mr. J.R. Trenerry, has organised an art competition, being shown in a rather large but temporary tent. The winner is announced as being Sydney painter James R Jackson, with his work 'Middle Harbour from Manly Heights'. Local residents and artists petition the Council to purchase the painting,. The money is raised and the first step taken in the development of one of Australia's most significant public art collections, today housed at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum ....
Art and Australia, Vol 32, no 1, 1994, p.66ff, photograph of 'Oleanders' by James R. Jackson p. 68
Useless Beauty, by Ann Elias
by James R. Jackson, while not strictly a flower painting, is a useful
index to the social construction of the feminine and feminine space. A
woman sits at home at a table arranging flowers as a man watches and
paints her doing this. The artist is an observer of a feminine world in
the process of being fashioned. The subject cheerfully attends to the
detail of domestic decoration, and her activity recalls the era of
Ruskin when moral expectation was placed on the domestic care of mother
and wife for the success of the nuclear family - the keeper of the city,
not the builder. ... 'Oleanders' is a painting of the domestic world of
flowers and women, put the painter is able to distance himself from any
threat to his masculinity by this association with feminine weakness
because the feminine is his object of study. As a hybrid of the genres
of flower and figure painting the work is raised above the level of
'pure' flower painting, proving that what is important here is not the
mechanical copying of nature - so suited to the leisured woman or the
misguided man - but an interpretation of the human subject. However, any
man in Australia who painted flowers in domestic interiors without
including the presence of the human subject ran a great risk of being
charged with feminine weakness ...
Mosman Daily, 1991: Painter hid his favourite works!
"It's really been a highlight of my life, especially to get the old boy, Jimmy, down in print." Dr Jacqueline Jackson, a retired GP, is talking about working on and publishing her first book: James Jackson - Art was his life. ....
The Bulletin, 18/06/1991: Amended Arcadia
A large James R. Jackson oil (dated 1948) to be sold by Lawson's in Sydney may be an important early work post-dated by the artist. Jackson's daughter, Jacqueline Jamieson ... believes 'Halcyon Days' is 'very good' and 'a rarity'. "My father painted a series of what I call his 'Arcadian nudes' over four years, from 1920 to 1924, with naked women with a bit of drapery near pools," says Jamieson. "I think that this one may have been done then and he kept it and had another go at it later."...
Sydney Morning Herald, 10/9/1975: Artist Dies
The Australian landscape painter, James Jackson, died yesterday in hospital after a stroke two weeks ago. Mr Jackson, who was 93, ha studied painting in London and Paris and his works are included in the Royal Family's collections and in the New South Wales and other national art galleries.
Possibly Mosman Daily, 1974: Painting days may be over
At 92, artist James Jackson fears he may have to stop work. Last Friday, Mr Jackson, a Fellow of the Royal Art Society of NSW and member of the Australian Academy of Art, was hit by a bus while crossing a busy street at Cremorne Junction.
"The bus knowcked me flying off my feet and crushed my right hand up against the paintbox I was carrying," he sad at his studio last night. The ligaments in Mr Jackson's right hand were damaged.
"Well, the doctor hasn't said anything to me yet but it's damned worrying," he said. "You know, if I can't paint, there's nothing left."
Mr Jackson is a chirpy little man "about 5ft 3ins in my socks." with silver strands of hair combed carefully across his forehead. He lives in a 420 a week bed-studio above a milkbar and fruitshop in Blues Point Road, North Sydney.
Mr Jackson's works, traditional landscapes, have been exhibited throught the world. The Art Gallery of NSW has 16 of his paintings while another 18 works are owned by major galleries in all Australia's capital cities. The Royal family owns three of his paintings, Mr Jackson said.
Manly Daily, March 1958: Artist's picture is Royal Choice
Members of the Manly Art Gallery Committee at its monthly meeting on Monday evening last were enthusiastic in their congratulations to one of its members, Mr. J.R. Jackson, a famous artist, in having one of his pictures chosen to be presented to the Queen Mother. It was certainly a great honour for Mr. Jackson and Manly is proud to learn of such honours ....
Australian Art Illustrated, 1947, published by the Royal Art Society:
Harbour Tranquility by Jackson is illustrated on page 20
The Courier-Mail, 2/5/1947 (Brisbane) p. 2: An Artist of the Old School
The present exhibition at the Centennial Galleries offers a happy surprise to the chance visitor who will find a dozen recent paintings by James R. Jackson - probably one of the few remaining artists from the greatest period (the Streeton Period) of Australian art. James R. Jackson studied under Frank Brangwyn, and is outstanding in his brilliant use of the broad brush treatment, his sky effects being particularly effective, in some instances magnificent. ...
Sydney Morning Herald, 8/4/1938: Picture Preferences at Art Exhibition.
Private View Yesterday.
Many connoisseurs of art attended the private view of the first
exhibition arranged by the Australian Academy of Art and held at the
Education Department’s Galleries in Loftus Street yesterday.
“I may go round the exhibition hundreds of times,” said Mrs. W. A. Holman, “but I would always come back to a Jackson picture.” Her particular choice is James R. Jackson’s “Harbour on Sunday.” Mrs. Holman is, however, gradually acquiring an appreciation of the more modern pictures.
Sydney Morning Herald, 9/6/1937, p.8: Art Exhibitions Mr. James R. Jackson
For a number of years, James R. Jackson has been recognised as an accomplished painter of Australian landscape. But he has never before done such fine work as now adorns the walls of David Jones George Street Gallery.
The Australian Home Beautiful, 1/5/1933, p.31-37: The Home of an Artist
By Nora Cooper. Illustrated with photographs by Harold Cazneaux
To describe the home of an artist is never an easy matter. His possessions are so much a part of his personality - or is it hat his personality so invades his possessions? - that it seems impossible to separate them long enough for the cold purposes of narrative. And in regard to James R. Jackson it would seem to be more difficult than usual. ....
There is himself, one of Australia's prominent younger artists (though actually he was born in New Zealand), Fellow of the Royal Art Society (N.S.W.) since 1922, with pictures hung in every important Australian gallery, to say nothing of private English collections - and a still brighter future ahead of him.
Of this one gets no hint at all, wandering after him along the flower-bordered pathways of his home at Balgowlah. Dark and soft voiced, he will talk with a whimsical, absent kindliness on any and every subject except himself. ...
50 Years of Australian Art by Members of the Royal Art Society 1879 - 1929, 1929, p. 11:
At the present time the Royal Art Society has a total membership of 180, comprising ten Full Members:
W. Lister Lister, President; Charles Bryant, R.O.I, Vice-President; J.S. Watkins, Vice-President; Lawson Balfour, Alfred Coffey, A. Dattilo-Rubbo, J.R. Jackson, Sir John Longstaff, Syd. Long, A.R.E., and Charles Wheeler; nine Associate Members ...
Two paintings represent the art of James R. Jackson in the publication: The Harbour from Balgowlah in colour on page 25, and The Crevice on page 77 in black and white.
Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/1928: At the Exhibition of French, Spanish and Italian Landscapes by Mr James R. Jackson
Two paintings of Venice and Toledo illustrated
Sydney Morning Herald, 16/4/1928, p.10: Art Abroad. A low Standard. Mr. Jackson's Impressions
After wandering for 18 months through Italy, Spain, France, and England, and viewing many exhibitions of modern art in these countries, Mr. James R. Jackson, the well-known Sydney artist, returned to Australia by the Commissaire Ramel on Saturday, with the conviction that the Australian standard of art is always as high, and In many cases Is higher, than the standard abroad.
"In my opinion," said Mr. Jackson. "Sir William Orpen is undoubtedly the greatest artist of today. During the tour I saw many exhibitions, and it was a very rare experience to come across a really fine piece of work. Now and again, of course, there was a good thing, but in between there were daubs that could not be termed pictures. The trouble is that on the Continent anyone at all can exhibit- even a student. At one salon in Paris there were 6000 works hung without any attempt at maintaining a standard. The object of the modern schools seems to be the distortion of everything. No member of the ultra-modern schools would dream of depicting things as God made them. Colour, form, and line are all unnatural. Good natural drawing in a picture would damn an aspiring modern for ever."
One good thing would come from the modern movement, continued Mr. Jackson. The different extreme schools were continually fighting among themselves, and eventually all of them would be destroyed. Out of the confusion then would emerge a movement towards saner, greater work.
Sydney Morning Herald, 16/4/1928, p.10: Italy. Artist's Impressions. Distress in small Districts
During his travels in Italy Mr. James R. Jackson, Sydney artist, who returned to Australia on Saturday, visited many towns and Villages off the tourist map. In the large tourist towns, he said, everything seemed bright and cheerful, but in smaller districts there was a great deal of misery.
"Italian people," ho said, "are expected to have children within two years of marriage. If they haven'ta ny by that time they are fined 600 lire. In the poorer districts there are not many lire kicking about, but you find the children all right. I believe the idea is that Mussolini wants soldiers for the years to come. Accommodation is very scarce. Tho poorer classes cannot afford to build, and in one instance I found five families living In three rooms."
Sydney Morning Herald, 24/8/1923, p. 36: Neutral Bay, by Jas. R. Jackson (illustrated)
This oil painting, which has been purchased by the trustees of the National Art Gallery for 150 guineas, from the exhibition of the Royal Art Society, embraces a wide extent of land and water. The technique is skilful, and the beauty of the scene is enhanced by a finely studied sky, in which patches of cloud float in the pale azure breadth over-arching all.
The Triad, 10/8/1923: Royal Art Society Exhibition
... James Jackson, in 'A Western Valley', shows the effect of dry, hot weather on the sun-scorched grass and trees, relieved by the line of a river winding into the distance. One of the most harmonious pictures this artist has exhibited is 'Neutral Bay'. The distance is finely handled, and the luminous autumn haze hanging over the Bay is masterly in its treatment. Again, in his 'Parramatta River', Jackson has solved a difficult problem in catching the scintillation on the water of the river. ...
Sydney Morning Herald, 9/8/1923: Art Gallery. Pictures Purchased
trustees of the National Art Gallery isited the annual
exhibition of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales this morning and
made the following purchases, viz.: — No, 28, “Neutral Bay. Sydney
Harbour,” by James R. Jackson, 150 gns.; 173, “Bush Team,” by H. S. Power, 150 gns.; 197, “The Workshop,” by F. Whitmore, 5 gns.
first of these is an oil painting, which embraces a wide extent of land
and water, as the foreground shows the heights above, the foreshores
near at hand, a vast space of sea, and the distant coast of Rose Bay on
the other side. The technique is skilful, and the beauty of the scene is
enhanced by a finely studied sky, in which patches of cloud float in
the pale azure breadth over-arching all. ...
Evening News, 19/6/1923: Norman Lloyd
... A club was formed, models were hired, and on nights when they were not
at the art class. Lloyd and his fellow enthusiasts studied figure
drawing, and diligently endeavored to put their divers theories about
art into practice. James R. Jackson,
whose clever landscapes hang in many homes nowadays, was then little
more than an advanced student himself. Under his captaincy an out-door
sketching class was held, the members of which tried hard to put the
sylvan beauties of Sydney’s less populated; suburbs on canvas at
week-ends. Lloyd, who was one of the happy band, made rapid progress. ...
Daily Telegraph, 6 /6/1923:
Australian Art. London Collection. Strongest in Landscapes
exhibition of the collection of pictures for the Exhibition of
Australian Art at the Royal Academy next October, is the most important
which has been held in Australia since the first exhibition of any kind
was organised by John Skinner Prout, in Hobart, in 1845. A large
gathering is expected at the Education Department Gallery to-day, when
the exhibition will be formally opened by the Governor-General at 2.30. ...
The work of Percy Lindsay. M. J. M‘Nally, Penleigh
Boyd, Ford Paterson, James R. Jackson, B. E. Minns, Alfred T. Clint, and
C. E. S. Tindall should also be mentioned. ...
Daily Telegraph, 26/05/1923: Australian Art. Pictures for London
list giving the artists’ names and the pictures which have been
selected for the Exhibition of Australian Art in London, has been issued
by the Society of Artists. Up to the present 57 Victorian artists, 42
from New South Wales, and three from South Australia, are represented.
It is probable that a few more will be added to the list.
following New South Wales artists will be represented in the collection:
— Messrs. Will Ashton, Howard Ashton, Julian Ashton, Muir Auld, Lawson
Balfour, J. A. Bennett, Albert Collins, Alfred T. Clint, Alfred Coffey,
Norman Carter, Roi de Mestre [a.k.a. Roy de Maistre], A. H. Fullwood,
Herbert Gallop, Elioth Gruner, James R. Jackson, Norman Lindsay, Lionel
Lindsay, Percy Leason, George Lambert, A R.A., W. Lister-Lister, John
Longstaff, Percy Lindsay, Squire Morgan, John Moore, B. E. Minns, Meade,
Norton [sic: F. Meade Norton], Lloyd Rees, A. Datillo-Rubbo, Bruce
Robertson, Gayfield Shaw, Sydney Ure-Smith, E. M. Smith, C. E. S.
Tindall, E. Warner, Hardy Wilson, Blamire Young, the late Messrs.
Douglas Fry, J. J. Hilder, and Frank Mahony, Mrs. Margaret Preston, Miss
Thea Proctor, and Miss Florence Rodway.
Mr. Norman Lindsay has
eighteen works, Mr. Hans Heysen fourteen, and Mr. Lionel Lindsay twelve.
Mr. Elioth Gruner’s group of eight includes “Morning Light” and “The
Valley of the Tweed” in the National Gallery [AGNSW]; and Mr. Arthur
Streeton is represented by his view of the Hawkesbury River in the
Melbourne Gallery [NGV], and four other works.
The set of five works
by George Lambert, A.R.A., includes “The White Glove” and the portrait
of Mrs. Ernest Watt; and Mr. John Longstaff sends the portrait of Mrs.
Bloomfield and another work. Mr. Max Meldrum is represented by his self
portrait; and there are two landscapes by Louis Buvelot, usually
regarded as the father of landscape painting in Australia.
Daily Mail, 17/10/1922:
Art Society. Annual Exhibition
is much to please the art-lover and little to displease; at the
Queensland Art Society’s annual exhibition, which is to be opened (in
Finney’s former premises in Adelaide-street) this afternoon by his
Excellency the Governor (Sir Matthew Nathan). The exhibits are not quite
as numerous as in previous years, but the quality of the work is
decidedly higher — which is a matter for congratulations to all
concerned. In addition to the 75 watercolours and oils exhibited by
members of the society, there are some loan paintings by such well-known
artists as Miss Cumbrae-Stewart, and Messrs. B. E. Minns, J. A. [sic:
J. R.] Jackson, Salvano [sic: Salvana],
S. Long, and M‘Innes [a.k.a. McInnes] and a small collection of
beautiful pottery and sculpture, together with attractive specimens of
black and, white work, and several samples of woodcarving complete a
decidedly pleasing exhibition.
Prominent among the exhibitors is the well-known southern artist, James A. Jackson,
who is represented by three delightful offerings, “Drying Sails” (a
charming sea picture) and two beauty spots in New South Wales —
Brookvale and the Nepean River. ....
Daily Telegraph, 25/7/1922:
Australian Art. Dame Nellie Optimistic. “Europe Dead For Artists”
.... Dame Nellie has done so much for
music that it is not fully realised what she has done for art. She is
the Lady Bountiful of the art world. She has helped Australian artists
at home and abroad, and her presence at an exhibition usually assures
its success. At Coombe Cottage she has a representative Australian
collection, which includes works by Streeton, Heysen, Hilder, Norman and
Lionel Lindsay, Gruner, Sydney Ure Smith, James R. Jackson, Norman Carter, and many others. ...
Daily Telegraph, 13/5/1922: Gallery and Studio. Notes
... Mr. James R. Jackson
has been holding an exhibition of his paintings at the rooms of
Decoration, Ltd., Melbourne, The critic of the “Age” places him among
“the first half dozen living Australian landscape painters.”
The Argus (Melbourne), 3/5/1922, p. 15: Art Exhibitions - Mr James R. Jackson's Paintings
Sydney Harbour, with its many changing beauties, is the subject of the majority of the paintings by Mr James R Jackson, now being exhibited at the Decoration Galleries, Collins Street. The harbour is painted from many points of view and aspects of nature. ...
Herald, 2/5/1922: Sydney Harbor on Canvas. J. R. Jackson’s Paintings
By A. Colquhoun
An exhibition of about forty oil paintings of Sydney Harbor, by Mr. James R. Jackson, was opened at the Decoration Galleries, Collins street, this afternoon.
paints the harbor from many points of view and under varied conditions,
and, while his work is brilliant and attractive, it is marked by the
mannerisms of a distinctive school of Australian landscape, which
includes Arthur Streeton and W. B. M‘Innes [a.k.a. McInnes].
pictures, for the most part, show a rapid executive skill, which tends
to light, and the clean use of pigment, though missing at times, in its
dexterity, the more subtle things of nature. The golden sunlight phase
of the harbor is chiefly dealt with — veiled, in some instances, but not
hidden, by a luminous, translucent haze. The latter effect is well
expressed In A Grey Day and in Sydney Harbor, both of which are treated
with a fine sense of space and atmosphere.
In Middle Harbor, that
realism savors something of crudeness, particularly as seen in
conjunction with the more poetic conceptions, but variableness in this
respect helps to obviate the tendency to repetition which might
otherwise make itself felt. Cloud Shadows is a clever study in the
abrupt, changing accents of light and shade which occur when the clouds
are low and broken, and further interesting impressions in color are the
two nocturnes, Circular Quay and Lavender Bay.
In some of the
smaller works there are signs of too much haste; and in Brookvale, which
ought to have been one of the best things in the show, the good
qualities are discounted to a certain extent by an over-nervous
treatment, which gives to the otherwise brilliant work a suggestion of
Boats and ships, incidental to many of the pictures, are
handled with knowledge, and introduced with a discriminating sense of
The exhibition, taken as a whole, is a good one.
Daily Telegraph, 30/1/1922:
Australian Pictures. The Dodds Collection
Railway Station,” painted by Streeton soon after his first arrival In
Sydney, is the gem of Mr. Leonard Dodds’ collection of Australian
pictures, which Mr. James R. Lawson will offer for sale at his auction rooms, 196-198 Castlereagh Street, at 11 o’clock to-morrow.
in three hours, it has all the spontaniety [and brilliance that
distinguished his early work. There are a number of other works done by
this artist at home and abroad. Two early portraits by Tom Roberts add
to the interest of the collection, and “The Wattles,” by Mr. Elliott
[a.k.a. Elioth] Gruner, holds it own among the landscapes. There are
also representative works by Messrs. Norman Lindsay, Blamire Young,
Henry Fullwood, Sydney Long, Will Ashton, J. R. Eldershaw, M. J. M‘Nally , Sydney Ure Smith, James R. Jackson, Roland Wakelin, and others.
Sydney Mail, 10/8/1921: A clever landscape and figure painter
For some years past the paintings of Mr. James R. Jackson
have been a notable feature of the Royal Art Society’s exhibitions.
This year his panel (he has no fewer than 12 pictures on view) is the
principal one in the show. His bright and pleasing colours attract the
general public; the sterling technical qualities of the works secure the
admiration of artists and critics. Mr. Jackson is now regarded as one of the few Australian painters who really count.
There are some Sydney art-lovers who saw in the first work exhibited at the Art Society’s exhibition of 1910 by Mr. Jackson
the factors which make for success. His colour sense was unusually good
from the outset, and it has since been trained and improved. Rejoicing
in the brilliant display of colour harmonies which Nature makes in
Australia, Mr. Jackson set himself to
reproduce them. His early impressionist landscapes and his bold
treatment of the figure in the open air gave a note of gaiety to his
exhibits which contrasted agreeably with the graver and often stodgier
pictures near by.
Colour is, after all, the most important element of a painting. The
selective sense is shown in the theme and fundamental training in the
draughtsmanship, but neither good drawing nor interesting subject will
compensate for lack of beauty in colour. One might grade artists by
their ability to render colour in its true tonal values and in its less
obvious and vulgar appearances. And one might almost say that if a
person is endowed with a fine colour sense all other requirements of
artistry will be added unto him.
Mr. Jackson’s progress as an artist
is indicated by the increasing subtlety of his handling of paint and his
treatment of more difficult aspects of the figure. Figure painting is
more exacting than landscape, and less saleable; so that fewer artists
attempt it seriously as compared with those who “go in for” landscape.
JAMES R. JACKSON virtually began his artistic career with drawings
and paintings of the figure. At the age of 8 he came to Sydney from New
Zealand, where, in the town of Palmerston North, he was born on the 3rd
July, 1886. While a youngster he amused himself considerably with a few
coloured chalks. His father saw some of these drawings, and then showed
the boy a small painting made by one of his employees. James
said that he didn’t think much of it. The father, amused at his
assurance, said: [‘]‘The day you can do anything as good as that you
will be somebody.” James replied that if
he had a box of colours he could do as well as that very quickly. A box
of paints was given to him, and he set to work with them
enthusiastically. After leaving school he obtained employment with a
firm of decorators in Sydney, and made use of any spare time in painting
for his own enjoyment. One day his employer found a dashing sort of
painting on the wall, and said: “What does this mean? Who did this?” James
proudly confessed that alone he did it. “Well, you’re used up a lot of
valuable paints. If you want to take up this sort of thing, I’ll
introduce you to an artist I know, and he’ll teach you.”
Shortly afterwards young Jackson was
introduced to Frank Mahony, who was then instructor at the classes of
the Art Society of N.S.W. He studied with Mahony for some seven or eight
months, and when the latter went to England his last words to his pupil
were: “Stick to it, Jackson; I think you’ll get on all right.”
JACKSON did stick to it, and studied at the Art Society’s classes
for about seven years altogether. Like most of the students, he wanted
to go to London, and fixed a date ahead by which time he thought he
would have enough money for the trip. At first the date was 1909, but
afterwards he altered it to 1907. However, he left Sydney in 1906 for
Melbourne with the intention of studying for a while under Mr. Bernard
Hall at the National Gallery [NGV School] there. He was not able to join
Mr. Hall’s class, but received a good deal of encouragement from the
late Mr. Fred McCubbin, and after three weeks in Melbourne decided to go
on to London. He secured a passage for a moderate sum via Cape Horn,
and arrived in London early in 1907. Two days after his arrival in the
great city, and without waiting to see the sights, Mr. Jackson
applied for admission to Messrs. Brangwyn and Swan’s New Art School.
Applicants generally have to wait some time for admission, as the number
of pupils is limited; but luck was with Jackson, as there happened to be a vacancy that day, and he began work in the school next morning.
Both Brangwyn and Swan were much liked by their pupils for their
geniality and practical advice. They used to call Swan “Old Tones,”
because he was always telling them that tone values were the things that
mattered — “tones, my boy, tones.” When Brangwyn first saw Jackson’s painting he said: “Too hot — too hot” and passed on. Next time, he looked at Jackson’s work for a few minutes, took his brush, and started to paint in some grey tones to reduce the warmth. He asked Jackson
where he came from. The pupil replied: “Australia, where we have a very
good thing of yours, sir, in the Sydney Galley [AGNSW] — ‘The
Scoffers.’ ” Brangwyn said: “Oh, yes; and you have a very good thing of
Madox Brown’s there — ‘Chaucer Reading his Poems Before John of Gaunt.’ ”
He also said that he had for some time wished to go to Australia, but
was afraid he could not get away from his work. He now had opportunities
for painting the things he liked, and unless there was pleasure in
one’s work it could not be much good.
SIX happy months were spent at the New Art School, and then Jackson
went on to Paris, where he joined the Academy Colarossi. For twelve
months he worked there, with Renard and Gorgia as the principal
teachers. At the end of the year they told him that he had made such
good progress that he should try for the Salon in the following year.
However, he could not finance a longer stay, and had to return to
Sydney. While at the Colarossi one of the students, an American, came to
Jackson and some others and said: “Look
here, you fellows, my Dad is coming over from home, and I have to put up
an exhibition of marine paintings in a devil of a hurry. He is a
shipowner, you knew, and all he thinks of is ships. I am supposed to be
here to learn how to paint ships, and I’ve none to show him. For
goodness’ sake help me to knock some up in time.” They all agreed, and
set to work, so that by the time Dad arrived his son had quite a
creditable collection of marine paintings to show him. Dad was pleased,
and allowed his son to continue his studies, which he did — but studies
in the nude, not of ships.
Mr. Jackson used whatever spare time
he had in Paris in studying the masterpieces in the galleries or in
walking expeditions into the country, and once in Belgium. He was much
impressed by the paintings of the Impressionists, especially Manet and
Degas, and his handling of light shows their influence. Some Algerian
scenes by Morot [sic: Corot] — horses on dusty roads under strong
sunlight and similar subjects reminiscent of Australia — also appealed
to him. In Paris he saw a good deal of the work of Phillips Fox, who had
been for some years in Australia, and whose fine treatment of human
figures out of doors had already strongly appealed to him.
FOR the most part Mr. Jackson paints
in the open air on the coast near Sydney. He has spent some time
painting inland at such places as Sofala and Hill End, but he can find
all the landscape subjects he wants near at hand in Sydney. Already he
has covered a fairly wide range of subjects. The opinion of many of his
friends is that he has been most successful in painting the figure in
the subdued light of an interior. Such a canvas as “Morning in the
Studio,” which many of our readers will remember, in which a
simply-dressed and attractive girl is posed against the studio wall and
beside a small mirror which reflects her face, is somewhat of a triumph
over technical difficulties. His open-air studies are, however, more
generally popular. The picture purchased last year by the N.S.W.
National Gallery is a seascape of particular fine quality. Mr. Jackson is never content to rest at any stage of accomplishment he has reached, but endeavours to go higher and further.
Australasian, 6/8/1921: The Studio. Royal Art Society of New South Wales
The private view of the Forty-second Annual Exhibition of the Royal
Art Society of New South Wales took place on Saturday afternoon, July
30, and was marked by a sort of renaissance of interest in Australian
talent. The rooms were almost uncomfortably crowded. There were 355
items displayed, the contributing artists numbering 83 — at least seven
well-known artists sent in a dozen exhibits each, some even more .... Mr. James Jackson
shows a dozen land and waterscapes full of atmospheric charm. His
“Narrabeen Lake” is bathed in a pale luminosity, with nymphlike figures
posed on the edge of the shore, and in his “Hazy Morning” the sun is
throwing patins of bright gold through an opalescent haze upon the sea.
The rocks in the foreground will delight all rock-lovers by their pure
Daily Telegraph, 3/8/1921: Australian Art. Mr Mutch Optimistic
There was a large attendance at the new gallery at the Department of
Education, when the Minister (Mr. T. D. Mutch) formally opened the
forty-second annual exhibition of the Royal Art Society. Before
addressing the audience the Minister viewed all sections of the
Mr. Mutch, who was introduced by the president (Mr. W.
Lister-Lister), said it was dangerous for a Minister to stand on a
platform, for if a request for a subsidy did not come from the chairman
it came from a member of the audience. Although he had no artistic
talent, he could claim to have some artistic taste, and he considered
that the subjects selected by the artists had been well and faithfully
represented. He noticed a marked improvement, particularly in the Works
of Mr. James R. Jackson, who was one of the Australian painters with a capital P. ...
Daily Telegraph, 30/71921: Royal Art Society. A Varied Collection. The Jackson Landscapes
We have reached a stage in our art history where the public has
faith in the artists; it now rests with the artists to keep faith with
the public. In the selection of works for exhibitions it is not too much
to expect that at least a fairly high standard should be maintained;
and so avoid the depressing effect which is produced by the inclusion of
There is much to admire in the annual exhibitions of the
Royal Art Society at the Exhibition Gallery at the Department of
Education, Loftus Street, which opens with private view to-day; but one
regrets that the selection committee has allowed certain percentage of
mediocre works to detract from the general effect of the collection. It
would have been so much stronger without it.
The group that makes the most appeal is that which includes the landscapes and seascapes of Mr James
R. Jackson, most which have figures in the foreground. There is
considerable charm about “Romantic Land,” in which two nudes, which are
well drawn, blend well with the scene depicted by the artist. The
lighting of the composition is very effective. There is a more conscious
arrangement of the figures in “A Sylvan Retreat,” but the composition,
as a whole is remarkably well painted. This work appears to have just
missed the effect of spontaneity that makes the others so attractive.
The artist’s other impressions, which vary in quality, are all
distinguished by sound painting. ...
Daily Telegraph, 14/2/1921: Jackson's Oil Paintings. First One Man Show
The exhibition of pictures by James
R. Jackson, which opened yesterday at the Art Salon, Penzance Chambers,
29 Elizabeth Street, is for some reason or other the artist’s first
one-man show. Considering his acknowledged ability, that it should be
his first is rather a surprise. However, the increasing number of people
who consider art worth while will be glad of a better chance of
characterising that of Jackson than is to be had by a sight of four or
five pictures in a society’s exhibition.
Jackson is, above all things, a painter of Sydney Harbor. His work
lies somewhere midway between that of the realists and the romanticists.
There is certainly romance in it, but as certainly one would never say
of it, as a flabbergasted critic once said of one of Hilder’s dreams,
that he “had seen the place, and it wasn’t a bit like that!” Jackson
does not attempt imaginative flights, but he can catch exactly the
feeling that attaches to some far-off blue patch of water, seen across
yellow-brown landscape, dim on a hot, moist day. Or the struggling of a
pale sunlight through the misty air above the water at dawn; or a long,
wooded point, yellow-brown, again, with house-roofs showing, and a line
of hills on the other side of the harbor, and, between and below, a pale
blue sheet of water, all on a hot and hazy midsummer afternoon.
But the exhibition does not all consist of pictures of this sort. A
row of autumn-colored inland poplars, sheltered in a hollow so that
their leaves have not yet dropped; girls gazing through the entrance of a
boatshed over a reach of bay; moored sailing ships, very cleverly
drawn. There is plenty of variety, but it is all Jackson. The exhibition
closes on February 28.
Sydney Morning Herald, 14/2/1921: J. R. Jackson's Art
James R. Jackson’s range is wider
than that of the generality of landscape painters, embracing on other
occasions figure and genre subjects, and this versatility might have
been of distinguishing service at the exhibition of oils which he is
opening this morning at the Art Salon in Penzance-chambers. For some
reason or other, however, he has confined his collection (with one or
two exceptions) to the art of the landscape pure and simple, in which
respect he runs the risk of the monotony which is sometimes the bane of
the one-man show. Fortunately it is only a risk, as he presents Nature
in many moods in and around Sydney Harbour, thus perpetuating on canvas
the evanescent charms of a whole series of well-contrasted and lovely
scenes. “Hazy Morning” is one of these, with a silvery light over a
fading distance, a leafy promontory that stretches out into the centre
of the composition, and the smoke of many tied-up steamers helping to
obliterate the sky — all cleverly treated as to values, and generally
attractive. “Middle Harbour from Mosman” possesses a harmony of tone
which contributes to the serenity of a touching view; “Taylor Bay”
pleases through the handling of a breadth of pale sapphire water with a
hard clear light which falls upon the coastline, bringing home to the
spectator a familiar effect. There is poetry in “The Neglected Farm,” a
lonely little building in ruins on the side of a rising hill, prosaic in
itself, but redeemed by the feeling of sentiment and the successful
care bestowed upon the details of light in relation to herbage.
“Morning, Sydney Harbour” wins by the purity of its colouring, and
“Evening Glow” reproduces an effect of Nature which insensibly draws the
eye across the spacious stretch of water to the effulgence on the
distant shore, whereon the dying day is spending its final effort. Mr.
Jackson exhibits in all some two score works of varying interest, which
may be viewed until the end of the present month.
Sydney Mail, 18/8/1920: The Royal Art Society’s show is always interesting;
but we cannot
profess to be altogether enthusiastic concerning this year’s exhibition
at the Sydney Education Gallery. The honours are easily taken by James R. Jackson,
whose panel of pictures is the feature of the display. Miss Marion
[sic: Mrs. Margaret] Preston’s studies of flowers are exquisite. Both
these artists were honoured by the trustees of the National Art Gallery. Mr. Jackson is destined to a brilliant career; his advance in the last twelve months has been remarkable. ...
Truth, 15//81920: The "Art"Society. What’s Wrong With Out Artists? Drab Display of Dull Mediocrity. Has Bourgeois Philistinism Completely Triumphed?
On Monday afternoon the Minister for Education opened the Royal Art
Society’s Spring Exhibition, which is being held in the Education
Department’s Gallery. The speaker made some conventionally “pretty” and
“proper” remarks to the effect that the Royal Art Society was the parent
one, but that its son and daughter — the Society of Artists and the
Women Painters — thought they knew more than their parent; and that he
was pleased to note that so many artists were painting our beautiful
scenery, and he hoped they would go on painting Australia.
The exhibition is a fair one, though of the 281 exhibits, fully 125
are below standard. There is evidence of much painstaking work, but very
little inspiration. When the artists have left the beaten track of
landscape pot-boilers and attempted something in the shape of a
“picture”, faults — more or less glaring — have marred the success of
The Art Gallery Trustees bought “Morning, Middle Harbor”, by J; R. Jackson, for 35 guineas. All Mr. Jackson’s
work is good, and he has made a praiseworthy attempt to get away from
the purely Nature studies. His “Spring” was evidently inspired by the
“Judgment of Paris”, and his “Blue and Gray [sic]” by “After the Bath”.
“Spring” shows the nude forms of three girls under the trees, the
sunlight striking through the branches. There is the front view of one
girl standing up, next her the back view of another standing also, and
the back view of one sitting on the bank. The flesh tones are delicate,
and the posing graceful, but the figures are faulty. The same model was
evidently used for “The Bather”, which shows a female sitting on a rock
in the “altogether” in the distance. “Blue and Grey” is a similar “nude”
sitting by a pool, the foliage above adding the color.
Sun, 7/8/1920: Royal Art Society. Creditable Exhibition.
... Mr. James R. Jackson’s
panel of oil paintings attracts by its good craftsmanship. This painter
always seems to know what he wants to get, and to get it. The trouble
is, from the point of view of his further advance, that he does not want
enough. The critic is apt to feel that he thinks more of technique than
of the spirit of the thing he is painting, that the very subtle values
and color-shades of nature are discarded by him instinctively because
they might interfere with the scheme of the picture he is painting.
These, however, are just the thing that a landscape painter should not
discard. Looking at the panel of pleasant, painterlike pictures, one
feels at times that one attempt — one failure to attack a problem
outside his compass, to paint exactly what he sees — would be a sign of
Herald, 9/8/1920: Paintings exhibited by Arts Club Display
(By A. COLQUHOUN.)
An exhibition of painting by members of the Australian Arts Club,
society which has its home in Sydney, was opened today at the Decoration
Gallery, Collins street.
The collection is of a varied character, comprising works in oils,
water colors, black and white, and different reproductive processes,
while the standard of merit, though normally high, is uneven.
Elliott Gruner is represented by three paintings in
oils, the larger of which, ’Twixt Shadow and Shine, is a missfire,
but the others, Serpentine Hill and Frosty Morning (particularly [the]
former) represent the artist at [his] best. James R. Jackson
is a prominent exhibitor. His transcript of Sydney Harbor and its
environment are handled with breadth and feeling, though in his figure
subjects, such as Waiting, there is a tendency to repetition, and to the
development of an obviously well-known manner.
Sydney Morning Herald, 7/8/1920: Art Society. The Spring Exhibition
... Mr. James R Jackson
sends in one of the most important canvases of his career in “Spring,”
an allusion to the youthful charm of three girls disrobed on the banks
beneath green trees before bathing. The warm tones of the surfaces
mostly in shadow are true to nature, because they arise from the light
which filters through the foliage; and there is the great quality of
grace in the composition. Next to this work in artistic value comes
“Morning, Middle Harbour.” Here the figures in the foreground are finely
placed, whilst the silvery sheen of the water, in viewing which the
spectator faces the sun, completes the spell of a lovely scene. This
work has been acquired by the trustees. ...
Daily Telegraph, 6/8/1920: National Art Gallery. New Pictures
The following purchases were made by the trustees of the National
Art Gallery yesterday from the annual exhibition of the Royal
Art Society of New South Wales, namely: —
Oil Paintings: No. 2. Nasturtiums, Margaret Preston, 12 guineas; No.
97, Summer, Margaret Preston, 12gns.; No. 16. Morning, Middle Harbor,
J. R. Jackson, 35gns.
Evening News, 27/12/1919: Australian Art Values. A Belated Recognition. Instructive Comparisons
...Undoubtedly their growing fame abroad has done much to create some of
the splendor of the present boom time. Well known collectors like Arthur
Pitt, Dr. Abbott, the late J. F. Archibald, Sir Baldwin Spencer,
Leonard Dodds, and Howard Hinton, continually on the lookout to acquire a
new Streeton, Lambert, Bunny, or Longstaff, never neglected the work
offering by the newer and younger generation of painters, which includes
Gruner, W. B. McInnes, Norman and
Lionel Lindsay, Percy Leason, W. M.
MacNally, J. R. Eldershaw, Florence Rodway, Will Ashton, James R. Jackson, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Mary Edwards, Penleigh Boyd, Cumbrae Stewart, J. J. Hilder, and others.
Bulletin, 20/11/1919: From an Adelaide Critic
Adelaide has for over 20 years been battling along with an annual
Federal Art show, and thinks it quite time that Sydney and Melbourne
joined in to make it a once-in-three-years affair for each city.
Meanwhile the 22nd Adelaide collection is the best for some years past.
J. R. Jackson (N.S.W.) is versatile. His Middle Harborscape has been bought for S. A. Gallery ....
Evening News, 22/8/1919: Appeal of the Picture.
Royal Art Society’s Show
... James R. Jackson
has succeeded very well in a large figure subject, “A Romance,” the
color scheme being suitable for this style of composition, and the
modelling strong. Color-schemes largely occupy the artist’s attention in
several sunlit seascapes, some of which are artistic in treatment,
notably the small view in Middle Harbor, bathed in the strong glare of
noon, “The Landing Place,” and “Cremorne.” ....
Table Talk, 3/7/1919: The Australian Arts Club’s exhibition…
The Australian Arts Club’s exhibition at Loftus Galleries is one
bright spot where long faces are not seen these days, for, in spite of
the general melancholy that prevails elsewhere on account of the
all-pervading microbe, there hasn’t been such a successful show in this
town for many a long day. and at the end of the first week the purchases
amounted to over £800. As most of the pictures are small in size, this
is quite a record, and artists outside this particular club are
wondering how it is done. Among the fortunate sellers are W. B. McInnes,
who sold a 25-guinea canvas to a private buyer; Hans Heysen, whose
40-guinea picture is to remain in this State; Percy Leason, who sold two
pictures at 25 guineas each; and James Jackson, who sold two at 20 and one at 15 guineas.
Sydney Morning Herald, 14/6/1919: The Arts Club. First Exhibition. Wide Range and Fine Work
... Mr. James R. Jackson’s
oils strengthen the exhibition in varied directions. In “The Beach,
Manly,” he reproduces the heat-haze over sea and sky, and touches of
colour in the strolling figures give a holiday gaiety to the scene. “The
Necklace” has value for the technical skill of the blue-grey
transparent shadow over the girl’s muslin flecked with sunlight; “Near
Silent Waters” is another art success arising from the treatment of
sunlight through a white parasol upon the nude torso of a surf girl; and
“Waiting,” a woman seated on a punt in a boat-house gazing at the
little sail upon the tranquil water beyond, charms by its parity of tone
and sentiment. ...
Daily Telegraph, 14/6/1919: Australian Arts Club. Representative Exhibition. Pictures for the home ..
The most pleasing of James R. Jackson’s
panels, in which everything from figure studies to atmospheric effects a
tackled, is a small painting of girls on a river, full of sunlight. .... The trustees of the National Art Gallery [ paid an official visit
to the exhibition of the Australian Arts Club yesterday, and purchased
the following works: — “The River,” by Penleigh Boyd, 30 gns.;
“Haymakers,” by W. B. M‘Innes, 25 gns.; “Waiting” by J. R. Jackson,
15 gns.; “The Ferry,” by M. J. M‘Nally, 15 gns.; “Basket Willows,” by
M. J. M‘Nally. 12 gns.; “Doors, Windsor,” by Sydney Ure Smith, 7 gns.;
“Bank of N.S.W.” by Sydney Ure Smith, 8 gns.
Triad, 10/5/1919: The Australia Arts Club
For a long time a club was needed as a meeting and working place for
artists in Sydney, and about three years ago the club was started in a
modest way. Now the members who attend the weekly dinner in their rooms
at Penzance Chambers, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, represent a very strong
body. Many well-known artists in New South Wales and other States are
members and will be showing examples of their work in the exhibition.
Mr. James R. Jackson
has been painting around Sydney and also made several sketches during a
recent visit to Victoria. His landscapes ire painted with fine feeling,
and he is striking a strong note of individuality. ...
Art in Australia, 3rd number, 1917: James R. Jackson
By Bertram Stevens. Illustrated by 'Morning in the Studio'
In connection with the advantages of a European training for an Australian artist, James R. Jackson's advice is: "Go, but do not stay." he is glad that he went to London and Paris, it was a very valuable experience, apart from the opportunity of seeing great pictures. He learned from his teachers what to look for, and how to look at it, for painting purposes. But having got the directions, he felt that he could follow them better in Australia than in England.
"What I saw of Australian artists' work in England" said Jackson, "made me feel that though they had gained in technique, they had lost in spontaneity and emotional value. On my return to Australia I went to look again at Streeton's 'Purple Noon's Transparent Might'. I thought it better than the great majority of modern landscapes I had seen in London or Paris, and better than Streeton's later work; that is, it has more feeling in it, and conveys more to the spectator. ...
The Sun, 1/9/1916: Royal Art Society Annual Exhibition. Art and Frightfulness
The 37th annual exhibition of the Royal Art Society, to be opened
to-morrow, and now hung at the gallery in the Education Department’s
Building, Bridge-street, suffers, as most exhibitions of the kind must
suffer, from the number of pictures allowed in for other than purely
artistic reasons. The amateur is strongly in evidence. Still, members of
the Art Society admit this difficulty, and have contended against it
heroically for many years. It is an established condition which calls
for little more comment than the noise made by the trams or Australia’s
plethora of politicians.
The most important exhibitor this year is certainly Mr. James R. Jackson.
His work shows intention, and some little individuality. His method is
fairly forcible, and his color and drawing are good, the former lacking a
little, perhaps, in that delicate perception of the essential grey in
all outdoor color which is the rarest of all gifts. The trustees of the
Art Gallery have bought two of his pictures — perhaps not the
best two. He is most successful in “Shell Cove,” which, in spite of its
tendency to prettiness in color, is well and cleanly handled, and
expresses the effect the painter sought. A good portrait of a little
girl is also shown in his collection, sharing with a portrait study in
black and green by Mr. Norman Carter the honor of being the best
portrait in the exhibition.
Daily Telegraph, 2/10/1915: The Royal Art Society.
With the magnificent gallery in the new building of the Department
of Public Instruction in Loftus Street placed at their disposal by the
Government the members of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales are
able to show their pictures to the very best advantage. ...
One of the strongest and most uniformly meritorious exhibits on the walls is the group of 10 canvases shown by Mr. J. R. Jackson,
whose picture “A Morning in the Studio” stands out from the ruck by
reason of the agreeable harmonies of the color scheme, the graceful pose
of the figure, the adequate rendering of the interior and the skill
displayed in the representation of textures. A girlish model in a satin
dress looking into a mirror on the studio wall is the subject. Perfect
finish in the painting of the accessories, refinement in the pose of the
figure, and impeccable draughtsmanship contribute much to the success
of this picture. Mr. Jackson shows a very
agreeable portrait study of a girl in a blue velvet dress, with a light
wrap over her shoulders, entitled “The Floral Scarf,” and there is
genuine poetic quality in his picture “The Timber Schooner,” in which
the subtle management of light on the hill is responsible for the
effect. Another large picture by this artist is entitled “A Summer
Morning,” and portrays a girl in shadow spotted with sunshine filtering
through the leaves of some saplings — a tricky effect which Abby [a.k.a.
Aby] Altson was among the first to introduce in his picture painted
some years ago for the trustees of the Melbourne National Gallery,
and which many others, including Mr. Phillips Fox, have used since.
Sydney Morning Herald, November 1914: New Purchases
The following works have been purchased by the trustees of the National Art Gallery: ... 'Oleanders', James R. Jackson, 150 guineas, ....
Sydney Morning Herald, 16/11/1914: "Oleanders", by James R. Jackson
This is the principal contribution made by this painter to
this year's show, and is probably the best work he has
painted possessing as it does sincerity and charm of style.
Daily Telegraph, 14/11/1914: The Royal Art Society - Annual Exhibition
... A prolific exhibitor is Mr. James R. Jackson, who shows about a dozen pictures, the largest of which is entitled inadequately 'On a Bright Day'. ... However, the title does not affect the picture, which is a poetic rendering of a graceful young person gathering wild flowers by the edge of a pool under the shade of a camphor laurel. The shadow on the white dress is purplish, probably on account of the yellow hillside behind and the blue sky above. Look at the bluest of skies through the yellow foliage, say, of an American poplar, on a day of brilliant sunshine, and the blue sky will be changed to purple. The artist has achieved an undoubted success with this work, which shows purity of line and delicacy of coloring, together with sentiment that is clear of sentimentality. Of Mr. Jackson's other pictures, one that catches the eye most definitely is a small canvas labelled 'Summer' a clever little painting of a girl in a thin white skirt which is diaphanous at the sides ...
Sydney Morning Herald, 26/8/1910: Royal Art Society's Exhibition
Yesterday the Royal Art Society’s annual exhibition, (...), was
inspected by the trustees of the National Art Gallery. Their
most important purchase was Mr. James R. Jackson’s
“Maidenhood” (£52 10s), a portrait-study of a girl attired in white,
edged with pink, quite remarkable for its poignant sweetness, and the
admirably vivid colour of the flesh-tones. The picture will attract
attention in the gallery by reason of its captivating qualities. ...