Spirit of the plains

Sydney LONG: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Sydney Long is the Australian artist most closely identified with the Art Nouveau style. Spirit of the plains (1897), his best-known painting, was Long’s attempt to create a new imagery which recognised Australia’s approaching nationhood. The figure of the girl, leading her dancing brolgas, represents a new mythology in which the Australian bush has become peopled with its own nymphs and gods.

Later in his career Sydney Long took up printmaking, and translated many of his paintings into prints. The most popular of these was Spirit of the plains, which Long first etched in 1918 while living in England. As a printmaker, Long was torn between the decorative softness of his aquatint etchings and the purity of line he could achieve in drypoint etchings.
Spirit of the plains
Artist/Maker and role
Sydney LONG: artist
aquatint and etching
29.6 x 47.5cm (sheet)
17.7 x 35.4cm (platemark and image)
Credit line
Purchased 1954
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the prints in our collection.