Goulburn Regional Art Gallery



Claude Lorrain

Claude Lorrain

The provenance of older artworks can often be impossible to trace. Myths arise with intriguing suggestions that an old master was the artist or perhaps that a work has had famous or aristocratic owners, ancestors of its current owner.

The story of this work before 1950 is a mystery; but there is a myth. Bought by a dealer some years before 1950 at a house auction in England, it was said to be by the 17th century painter Claude Lorrain, however, neither the catalogue nor any receipts of purchase have survived. The dealer sold the painting, with its myth, around 1950 and it subsequently joined its new owner on a long voyage to Australia. Over twenty years later and in the hope that expert advice could shed light on the painting’s creator, both owner and painting returned to England. It started to become clear that it was unlikely that the brush had been held by Lorrain and instead, two more names, Bartolommeo Torregiani and Salvatore Rosa were proposed as possibly being the artist; or maybe not. Another thirty years on and “The Claude Lorrain”, as it has become known, was donated to the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, along with its myth.

The monetary value of an artwork depends greatly on reliable provenance and proof of authorship.  This work has neither but whether it is very old and by an old master or by a lesser known artist, apprentice or forger, its value lies in the interest it has created; the myth, the detective work into its age, the artist, the location of the landscape and that it truly is a skeleton from someone’s closet and now, from The Collection.

Angela D’Elia, curator, GRAG


Cnr Church & Bourke Sts. Goulburn NSW 2580
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Open Monday-Friday, 10 am – 5pm Free entry. Saturday 1-4pm

goulburn.art REGIONAL GALLERY is a cultural facility of Goulburn Mulwaree Council and receives support from the New South Wales Government through Arts NSW, M&G NSW.

Gordon Darling FoundationAustralian Government - Visions of Australia