9 by 5 Impression Exhibition

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Portrait by Arthur Streeton of Louis Abrahams smoking a cigar. Abrahams, a tobacconist, supplied the artists with wooden cigar-box lids for painting impressions. Many of the lids measured 9 by 5 inches, hence the name of the exhibition.

The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition was an art exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. The exhibition was opened on 17 August 1889 in Buxton's Rooms on Swanston Street and featured 183 works; the majority of which were painted by the Australian impressionists Tom Roberts, Charles Conder and Arthur Streeton. The exhibition was named for the dimensions of most of the paintings— 9 by 5 inches (23 cm × 13 cm), the size of a cigar box lid upon which many of the works were painted— and the Impressionist inspiration for the works.[1]

The exhibition created much lively commentary at the time and is now seen as a "celebrated event in Australian art history".[1] 9 by 5s continue to appear on the market; in 2009, Conder's Centennial Choir at Sorrento (cat. 151) sold at Sotheby's for A$492,000.[2] In 2012, to mark the 123rd anniversary of the exhibition, arts benefactor Max Carter donated four 9 by 5s (valued at over A$3,000,000) to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the largest group of 9 by 5s ever given to an Australian public institution.[3]

Gallery of 9 by 5s[edit]


  1. ^ a b "9 by 5 Impression Exhibition". Australian Impressionism. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria. Archived from the original on 9 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  2. ^ Important Australian Art: Charles Conder, Centennial Choir at Sorrento, Sotheby's. Retrieved on 4 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Art Gallery of South Australia receives largest group of '9 by 5' paintings", Art Daily. Retrieved 25 October 2012.

External links[edit]