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Migrant artists feature in historical exhibition

26 May 20230 comments

Migrant artists feature prominently in a new exhibition that celebrates 150 years of the Victorian Artist’s Society.

Among the founders of the society were migrants Louis Buvelot and Hubert de Castella.

Swiss-born Buvelot arrived in Melbourne in February 1865 and was in business as a photographer in Bourke Street for a year but soon resumed his painting.

He lived for some years in Latrobe Street East, and then moved to George Street, Fitzroy. His new wife, Caroline-Julie Beguin, helped by teaching French, and presently he began to find buyers for his pictures.

In 1869 the trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria bought two of his pictures, and in 1870 paid £131 for the Waterpool at Coleraine.

In 1873, 1880 and 1884 he was awarded gold medals at exhibitions held in Melbourne, and he also received a silver medal at the Philadelphia exhibition of 1876. His reputation became established, his only interest was his work, and he went on steadily painting until his death on 30 May 1888.

De Castella was also born in Switzerland. He first visited Victoria in 1854 and finally settled here in 1963 when he commenced planting the now famous St Hubert’s vineyard, in the Yarra Valley.

He was an architect by profession and a passionate art lover.

The pair were part of a small group of artists and lay persons who formed the Victorian Artists Society in 1870.

The society is where young artists including Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts, Walter Withers, Frederick McCubbin, and many others, began their artistic endeavours, which today form the foundation of Australia’s major art collections in national galleries across Australia.

Many of these works were purchased from members’ exhibitions, a process which continues today as the Victorian Artists Society, with members from all works of life and all levels of skill, continue to learn to paint and exhibit.

The society’s building is a public asset and learning centre for following generations, and is open to the public and all of those who love art.

The studio and galleries are still being used the way its founders had intended for teaching, artistic expression and exhibiting.

The studio provides a place for artists to come and study under the guidance of experienced tutors and to meet other creative like-minded people.  The galleries provide a wonderful light and contemporary space showcasing many different works of art throughout the year.

The exhibition runs from May 27 at the Victorian Artists Society, 430 Albert Street, East Melbourne.

Read more here: History of the VAS Gallery | Victorian Artist Society