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William Rubery Bennett (1893-1987): An Impressionist Visionary

Rubery Bennett art auction central coast
'Camping on the Murray'

William Rubery Bennett, also known as Rubery Bennett, was a prominent Australian artist and art gallery owner. Born in Brisbane in 1893, he later moved to Sydney, where he spent much of his career. His artistic journey was marked by a unique blend of creativity, entrepreneurship, and a deep appreciation for the Australian landscape.


Bennett was an impressionist painter, capturing the essence of nature through his vibrant and evocative works. His preferred subjects included serene river landscapes, often bathed in soft hues of pink and purple. These paintings exuded tranquillity and a profound connection to the Australian environment.


As an art dealer, Bennett actively sold most of his paintings, ensuring their visibility and accessibility. However, his impact on Australian art extends beyond his own creations. The Rubery Bennett Gallery in Sydney (established 1924, closed 1956), provided a platform for emerging and established artists alike, fostering a sense of community within the Australian art scene.


Bennett played a pivotal role in promoting Australian art with the late 1920s and 1930s seeing the gallery host exhibitions featuring leading Australian artists such as Theo Proctor, Margaret Preston, and Lloyd Rees. Bennett’s commitment to showcasing local talent contributed significantly to the growth and recognition of Australian art during that period.


Bennett’s work gained considerable popularity, especially in the 1980s. His serene river landscapes, with their dreamlike quality, were keenly sought after, often fetching impressive prices. Although controversies also surrounded Bennett’s work. Some dubious paintings attributed to him led to auction house refunds, while others were declared outright fakes. Importantly, the Rubery Bennett offered for sale at Swan Deverell Auctioneers (pictured) has the authenticity certified by Norman Glenn, Valuer for the Cultural Gifts Program, Department for the Arts, Canberra, Australia.


While controversies surrounding the attribution of his work may have arisen, Bennett's enduring legacy persists, with his serene river landscapes remaining highly sought after and fetching impressive prices. Now, almost 40 years after his death, Bennett's contributions to Australian art continue to be celebrated and appreciated, reaffirming his status as an impressionist visionary.


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