267 Church Street, Richmond 3121

P: (03) 9427 0140


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Michael Shannon

(Untitled - Urban Panorama), c. 1959 - 1960

Price: $35,000


Catalogue number: 13

oil on canvas

120.00 x 150.00

signed 'Shannon' l.l.


Christies, Melbourne, 1991, lot 72;
Private Collection, Melbourne, since then

Literature & references:

Gordon Morrison, Elizabeth Cross, Ronald Millar and Patrick McCaughey, Michael Shannon - Australian Romantic Realist, Art Gallery of Ballarat retrospective exhibition catalogue, 2011, see p 70, 71 and 72 for comparable works: Urban Panorama, c. 1960 in the Art Gallery of Ballarat collection; Original concept of the Victorian Arts Centre, 1963, in the Arts Centre Melbourne collection; and The City, 1961, in the Art Gallery of Western Australia collection.


Purchased in 1991 as City skyline, I suspected the church to be St Ignatius in Richmond. Other possibilities were eliminated both architecturally and topographically. The formal composition - a view from an eminence across rooftops to a distant horizon - clearly pleased the artist as he used it on several occasions over the following decades. This work is not titled on the reverse - suggesting that City skyline was a descriptive title by the vendor. However, it is not far off the mark since other examples are also given generic titles such as Suburban landscape, Summer storm, and Winter Landscape, presumably to emphasise their anonymity and hence minimise any specific topographical intent (except where notable buildings were concerned).
Be this as it may, the architecture of the church does fit St Ignatius and would be a view from the south-east. As for the eminence from which the artist may have worked, the most plausible would be the top floor of the Richmond Town Hall on Bridge Road or from the old silos and outbuildings of the malting buildings on the corner of Abinger and Lyndhurst Streets.
Stylistically the work would date from c. 1960 when the artist began exploring abstraction, in his case the more geometric aspect which was clearly more closely related to his focus on the city streetscapes that had been the basis of most of his work in the 1950s. In the present work he has created a lively composition out of what would have been a few hectares of streets and backyards in the foreground which, whilst architecturally impossible in reality, creates an engaging evocation of inner suburban muddle. C.N.

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Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.