James Muir Auld

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James Muir Auld (19 June 1879 – 8 June 1942) was an Australian artist. His works are signed J.Muir Auld.

James Muir Auld was born in Ashfield, New South Wales, third son of Presbyterian minister, Reverend John Auld and his wife, Georgina née Muir. James Auld attended Ashfield Public School and later, Sydney Grammar School. He worked as a clerk for the Ashfield Borough Council and enrolled in night classes in drawing at Ashfield Technical School. He spent spare time drawing and sketching the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.

Artistic career[edit]

Auld studied under J. S. Watkins and Julian Ashton, and began to exhibit at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales around 1906. He contributed black and white drawings to The Bulletin and the The Sydney Mail. In 1909 he travelled to London to study the work of English painters. There he had work accepted for London Opinion and other journals. Returning to Australia about 1911, he worked in Sydney on landscapes and figure subjects, and also did some portraits. On 1 July 1914 Auld married a divorcee Maggie Kate Kane, née Bell. In 1917 The Broken Vase was bought by the National Art Gallery of New South Wales. At about this time, they also purchased a portrait of the poet Roderic Quinn. He joined the Society of Artists, Sydney about 1920 and frequently exhibited with it. In the 1920s, he joined the well-known commercial art firm, Smith and Julius, and illustrated several books.

Towards the end of his life Auld spent 11 years at Thirlmere, New South Wales, living alone. The surrounding landscape did not appear to be of an inspiring kind, but Auld's work at this period ranked with his best. Winter Morning was awarded the Wynne Prize in 1935. Auld had three one-man exhibitions at the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, in 1928, 1936 and 1938, and had also exhibited in London and Paris. He was a foundation member of the Australian Academy of Art in 1938.

Death and legacy[edit]

Auld died of tuberculosis on 8 June 1942, survived by a daughter. He was a sound painter in the old traditions, who would not allow himself to be disturbed by the various movements which arose between the two wars. He had good colour, and was especially interested in effects of atmosphere and sunlight, which he expressed with much vitality. He is represented in the Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Manly galleries.

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