Philip Wolfhagen

Untitled (Panorama no.2). June 16, 1994
oil and beeswax on canvas
46.5 x 152.0 cm
inscribed with date 'June 16' and monogram 'W 94' all (lower right)


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Sherman Galleries, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney

'Philip Wolfhagen - Passages', Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 29 June-30 July 1994, cat. 14

'Untitled (panorama no.2)', June 16 depicts the Central Plateau Lakes in Tasmania. Philip Wolfhagen has returned to this subject frequently in his work and it informs a series of paintings he produced throughout the 1990s. The artist's oil on canvases do not simply offer observations or studies of the landscape. Instead, Wolfhagen's practice emerges from a private obsession with land and country; a deeply experienced, personal and enduring engagement with the Australian landscape. It is as though, by looking across this panoramic painting, we are seeing his Tasmania with his eyes.

'Untitled (panorama no.2)' is a work that not only speaks the language of the landscape, but also of paint. Using oil and beeswax, the artist has deftly created a dense surface that is somber in mood and tonality, and yet captures the changing light across the land. Although Philip Wolfhagen's work only came to the attention of critics in the early 1990s, he is regarded as one of the most significant and outstanding landscape painters in Australia.

  • Untitled (Panorama no.2). June 16

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‘The spiritual quality in my work resides in the vanishing point on the central horizon. I cannot deny the ritualistic nature of the act of painting and the feeling of spiritual elation I experience when I achieve, in a passage of paint, what I had in mind and soul.’
Philip Wolfhagen

Born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1963, Philip Wolfhagen draws inspiration from the clouds, low mountains and fields of his native land. After studying in Sydney at the Sydney College of the Arts and University of Sydney in the late 1980s, he returned to Tasmania in 1996 where he continues to live and work to the present day.

For decades Wolfhagen has worked with oil and beeswax, applied in broad spreads of a palette knife, that lends his paintings a mellifluous sheen. His work is highly gestural, with areas of sky and water applied smoothly in direct contrast with mountains or clouds that rise to tactile peaks. The landscapes have a sense of mood and atmosphere reminiscent of the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich.

Philip Wofhagen has been working and exhibiting for three decades with his work included in major public and private collections across Australia. In 2013, a survey of his work, 'Illumination: The art of Philip Wolfhagen', was exhibited at the Newcastle Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Museum Art Gallery, Hobart. In 2016-17, another survey, 'Transformations: The art of Philip Wolfhagen', was held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, where he exhibited his large-scale six-piece painting 'Archipelago' in 2003. He has also been featured in a number of group shows, most recently Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the first exhibition of Australian art at the Royal Academy in 50 years. He was awarded the Wynne Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 2007.

Philip Wolfhagen is represented by Bett Gallery, Hobart, Domink Mersch Gallery, Sydney and Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane.