The Beauty of the Australian Outback with Hugh Schulz

One of the strengths of the AnArt4Life blog is that we all have our hands deep in the treasure box of art. For some of us our hands are covered in paint, others dirt from our love of gardens, and for some their hands are lovingly wrapped around a newly acquired painting. We all live the art dream in our own special way.

For Andrew, his hands lovingly embrace the best collection of Australian Outback Paintings outside a privately owned or public gallery. Andrew is the proud owner of a remarkable collection of paintings by Brushman of the Bush painter Hugh Schulz many of which we showcased in a series of posts back in early 2021.

Andrew has been busy working at his day job so that he is able to purchase more Schulz masterpieces for his home gallery and today we are going to be treated to his latest acquisitions.

I will let Andrew take over and tell you all about his latest purchases of Hugh Schulz - starting with Springtime in the Barrier Ranges by Hugh Schulz - a 50cm x 75cm delight.

Springtime in the Barrier Ranges by Hugh Schulz 50 x 75cm (1) © S. Lindeman

I've just managed to get hold of another one of Hughs paintings to add to the collection - "Springtime in the Barrier Ranges".

This one is similar to a previous one in the collection (see below) however a little larger at 50 x 75.5 which I believe puts it into the category of his larger paintings. When I refer to it as being similar it would indicate that Hugh painted the same subject on a number of occasions as did Monet with his haystacks , Van Gogh with his Sunflowers and Cezanne with his still lifes and of course many other artists who did much the same.

I'm sure that many of you are aware Hugh had this quirky habit of occasionly concealing animals in his paintings, to the best of my knowledge usually rabbits but this painting also has something rather cleverly concealed, so for a bit of fun see if you can spot it...or them!

"Wildflowers Broken Hill" has a similar foreground to "Springtime in the Barrier Ranges", but the background and the skys are quite different, unsurprisingly both of these paintings depict emus a long way into the distance, emphasing the vastness and colours of our wonderful outback.

Hopefully you can find the emus!

Wildflowers Broken Hill by Hugh Schulz 45 x 60W (1) © S. Lindeman

Hugh's paintings didn't originally appeal to me when I first saw them about forty years ago, they didn't appeal in any significant context.

However, now the opposite is true - I am completely mesmerized and hypnoticized by them. As I looked at them over a period of time they have grown on me to the point where I can't stop myself looking at them and seeing new things every time and feeling that warmth and joy that they project.

The more I study them the more I see, mostly in the distant background with the various shades and colours of the hills and vegetation. I just love the perspective and change of colour that his paintings show as the landscape disappears into the distance.

He has a mastery of showcasing the desert in all its vibrancy and colour.

Road in Outback Hills, Inland Australia by Hugh Schulz (1) © S. Lindeman

The simplest way of describing how I feel about these beautiful paintings is to say the guilty pleasure that I feel being able to look at them when ever I feel like it and that is most of the time. It's difficult to fully explain the impact these painting have on me other than to say it's been one heck of a journey.

Most of these works were created between thirty and forty five years ago and to this day look as fresh and vibrant as to the day they were painted.

Outback Creek Broken Hill by Hugh Schulz (1) © S. Lindeman

Some of the readers will be interested to know that a collector is always very interested in dating when a painting was created.

Two of my "new" paintings are signed H.R.Schulz, both undated, - "Prospector Costeaning" and "Miners Working on Cliff Face".

Prospector Costeaning by Hugh Schulz (1) © S. Lindeman

We know that Hugh comenced painting in 1965 while he was still mining and joined the "Brushmen of the Bush" in 1973. We also know that he didn't date many of his paintings. According to the Regional Gallery of Broken Hill, one of the paintings according to them was painted in 1970 "The Prospector". This painting appears to be signed H.R.Schulz though it is difficult to decipher the signature from the image shown. The Broken Hill Regional Gallery also have a couple of paintings which they say were created in 1981 and are signed Hugh Schulz, not H.R.Schulz.

If I am correct the two paintings signed H.R.Schulz would then appear to have been created between 1965 and 1970 which makes them fairly early works and over fifty years old. Hugh's daughter Sandy Lindeman believes that those signed H.R.Schulz were early paintings but can't put a specific date to them.

It's not just dating these works but also trying to obtain some sort of provinance which has created some interesting challenges.

Miners Working on Cliff Face by Hugh Schulz (1) © S. Lindeman

I've been doing some more thinking about the two eary paintings by Hugh, the two signed H.R.Schulz - "Prospector Costeaning" and "Miners Working on Cliff Face".

Because of the signatures I've already determined that they most likely would have been painted between 1965, the year that Hugh commenced painting in a serious way and 1970 when he changed his signature to Hugh Schulz.

The "Miners Working on Cliff Face" is completely different from his later landscapes not only due to the subject matter but he has used oil paint with rocks and minerals glued onto the board. This is quite a heavy painting compared to the rest, so my assumption is that it was probably created or, in fact more accurately put, constructed closer to 1965.

The other painting " Prospector Costeaning " shows early signs of his style changing to the more colourful and expansive landscapes of the 70s and 80s, so with this one I'm assuming probably painted late 60s.

Oh, how I wish he had dated his paintings! Having said that if he had done so I wouldn't had had so much fun playing at being Sherlock Holmes and appying my own detective work.

The painting "Eagle hill-Barrier Ranges" which surprisingly for someone who normally doesn't date his paintings is dated 1982 and was purchased from Hugh by an art dealer Kevin Hill in 1983. This painting is also, as I discovered later on after I had purchased it, is depicted in the book "Australian Artists Today" (Third Edition) by Graeme Norris.

This is easily one of my favourite paintings for a couple of reasons. It emphasises Hugh's favourite animals/birds that of course being the Wedge Tailed Eagle, also one of my favourite birds - in fact I have a couple that nest close by so often and I see a couple of them flying over my place except in late Spring when I see four of them after the chicks have hatched.

The other reason I love this painting is the way in which Hugh shows another aspect of the desert, not so colourful, but still wonderfully enticing and dramatic. I find this painting quite mesmerizing, you find yourself very much drawn to it, it just captures and holds your attention.

Eagle Hill - Barrier Ranges 44 x 59.5cm by Hugh Schulz (1) © S. Lindeman

I firmly believe that if Hugh Schulz works were displayed in any of the State or Territory Galleries , not only wouldn't they look out of place , but with a bit of creative advertizing , promotion and imagination would be a serious drawcard for those galleries.


Note from Anne

If anyone has information on Hugh Schulz and his paintings you can email me at [email protected] or leave a message below in the Comments Box.

Coming up over the next few days as I travel to Broken Hill - the landscape so loved by Hugh Schulz - Andrew has a look and find game for you and we are also going to share some of the series of posts on Hugh Schulz we published on the blog in early 2021.

And from a gloriously sunny day in Broken Hill (though a little chilly) we warmly welcome M.H. from Pennsylvania to the AnArt4Life blog.

1. From the collection of Andrew from the Hunter Region of NSW.