Breaking the news

John LONGSTAFF: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Narrative painting – painting which tells a story – was very popular with Australian audiences in the late-nineteenth century. This image of a young woman being told her husband has been killed in a mining accident was painted while Longstaff was still a student at the National Gallery School, Melbourne. It is packed with carefully-observed details, which help the viewer to see the full extent of the tragedy. Breaking the news was judged the best painting in the 1887 students’ competition, winning for Longstaff £150 and a three-year travelling scholarship to study in Europe.
Breaking the news
Artist/Maker and role
John LONGSTAFF: artist
oil on canvas
109.7 x 152.8 cm
153.5 x 197.0 x 19.0 cm (framed)
Credit line
Purchased with funds from the Hackett Bequest Fund, 1933
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.