AGM & 'Richard Wagner and the Visual Arts' by Trevor Clark, 17 April 2016

12.30pm: DVD: Visconti's 'Ludvig', Part 3
2.00pm: Annual General Meeting - members only
followed by presentation by Trevor Clark

Presentation by Trevor Clark
Our AGM on April 17 was followed by a presentation, rather than the usual concert. 58 people attended to hear Trevor Clark, from the Wagner Society of Victoria show a comprehensive slide collection of visually stunning artworks associated with Richard Wagner and his music dramas. Trevor explained that despite famously declaring himself to be a visual arts philistine, Wagner has always inspired artists, because he wrote extraordinarily visual music. Subjects covered in his presentation included images of members of the Wagner household, the Wagnerian muses such as Mathilde Wesendonck, Wagnerian characters such as the Minnesingers and the Norns, inspirations such as the Prose Tristan, and subjects such as Temptation.

Other artistic endeavours featured were the murals painted at Neuschwanstein, contemporary artists such as the Nazarenes and the Pre-Raphaelites, the Book as Total Artwork with images drawn from such as the Arthur Rackham and works by major artists from Fra Angelico to Anselm Kiefer.

Many of the artworks reproduced were stunning. Trevor indicated that he had been inspired by a painting that showed Brünnhilde and two other Valkyries on their steeds, which had been reproduced in a book. When researching the name of the painter, he discovered the painting was in the basement of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, where it was identified as ”Ride of the Valkyrs” by John Charles Dollman, an English painter and illustrator (1851-1934).

Interestingly a number of paintings discover through Trevor’s researches languished in basements of Australian galleries, particularly the galleries of cities that profited from the gold-rushes. Melbourne, Ballarat and Perth bought art from the period of Wagner’s major success and seem to be rich sources of paintings by members of groups such as the Nazarenes.

Response from the audience was very enthusiastic and committee members received by email a number of positive responses. This one from Minnie Biggs to Jennie Edwards is an example: ‘Sorry I never seem to meet you as I rush away for a train afterwards, and wanted to say how terrific this talk was, really outstanding, and such beautiful presentation/tech production! Congratulations, to whoever!’

Colleen Chesterman