A break away!

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A break away!
Tom Roberts - A break away! - Google Art Project.jpg
ArtistTom Roberts
Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions137.3 cm × 167.8 cm (54.1 in × 66.1 in)
LocationArt Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

A break away! is an 1891 painting by Australian artist Tom Roberts.


Roberts' 1891 painting of Collendina Station, Corowa, where he began work on A break away!

The painting depicts a mob of thirsty sheep stampeding towards a dam. A drover on horseback is attempting to turn the mob before they drown or crush each other in their desire to drink.[1] The painting, an "icon of Australian art", is part of a series of works by Roberts that "captures what was an emerging spirit of national identity."[1]

Roberts painted the work at Corowa.[2] The painting depicts a time of drought, with little grass and the soil kicked up as dust.[1] The work itself is a reflection on the pioneering days of the pastoral industry, which were coming to an end by the 1890s.[1]

Exhibition history and provenance[edit]

The painting formed part of the 1898 Exhibition of Australian Art in London, the first major exhibition of Australian art internationally.

A break away! is now part of the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia having been purchased in 1899.[3] It was included in Quintessence Editions Ltd.'s 2007 book 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "'A break away!' by Tom Roberts". The Le@rning Federation. Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  2. ^ Smith, Abigail. "Roberts' The Breakaway". Tom Roberts' Australia. Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  3. ^ "A break away!". Collections. Art Gallery of South Australia. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  4. ^ Farthing, Stephen; Sanderson, Terry (2007). 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die. London: Quintessence Editions Ltd. p. 513. ISBN 0-7893-1524-6.

External links[edit]