7. Hans & Nora Heysen
One of the Hotel’s features is our rooms are named after Australian artists. Room 7, our Queen room with private bathroom, is named after Hans and daughter Nora, Heysen.
Sir Hans Heysen OBE (8 October 1877 – 2 July 1968) was a German-born Australian artist. He became a household name for his watercolours of monumental Australian gum trees. He is one of Australia’s best known landscape painters. Heysen also produced images of men and animals toiling in the Australian bush, as well as groundbreaking depictions of arid landscapes in the Flinders Ranges. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting a record nine times.
Wilhelm Ernst Hans Franz Heysen was born in Hamburg, Germany. He migrated to Adelaide in South Australia with his family in 1884 at the age of 7. As a young boy Heysen showed an early interest in art. At 14 he left school to work with a hardware merchant, later studying art during nights at Art School in his spare time, under James Ashton. He joined the Adelaide Easel Club in 1897 and was immediately recognized as a rising talent.
At age 20 he was sponsored by a group of wealthy Adelaide art enthusiasts H. H. Wigg and brothers-in-law W. L. Davidson, and F. A. Joyner, and miner Charles Henry de Rose to study art for four years in France.
By 1912 Hans Heysen had earned enough from his art to purchase a property called “The Cedars” near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, which remained as his home until his death in 1968 aged 90. Hans Heysen is best remembered for his remarkable paintings depicting sheep and cattle among massive gum trees against a background of stunning atmospheric effects of light.
Nora Heysen AM (11 January 1911 – 30 December 2003) was an Australian artist, the first woman to win the prestigious Archibald Prize in 1938 for portraiture and the first Australian woman appointed as an official war artist. Nora Heysen, born in Hahndorf in 1911, was the fourth child of Hans and Sallie Heysen, and The Cedars was her home from 1912 until 1934.
Nora’s extraordinary artistic talents were evident from an early age. From 1926 to 1930, she studied at the School of Fine Arts, North Adelaide.By 1933, Nora Heysen’s works had been acquired by the National Gallery of South Australia, the Queensland Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Howard Hinton Collection at Armidale.
Heysen’s first solo exhibition was held in Sydney in 1933. In 1934 she traveled to London with her family, remaining in Europe, after they returned home, until 1937 studying and painting. When she returned to Australia she returned briefly to Adelaide and then moved to Sydney.
A major retrospective exhibition of the work of daughter and father, Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art was curated by the National Gallery of Victoria March – July 2019. Reviewing it, Sydney Morning Herald critic John McDonald described Nora’s career as a “fractured, stop-start affair”, but that in a “popular rethinking of the Heysen’s place in local art history … Nora’s star has risen while her father’s has declined.”