Arriving in Australia as an adolescent in 1884, Charles Conder became one of the key founders of the Heidelberg school of Australian impressionism. He returned to Europe six years later to become a legendary figure of the fin de siècle, mixing with leading artists and writers including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde.

Exhibited in Sydney in 1888, 'Departure of the Orient – Circular Quay' was Conder’s impressive artistic debut. With its silvery-grey tonality, contrasted with touches of brilliant colour, the work reflects the influence of Whistler and the principles of Aesthetic painting. Conder’s interest in Japanese art – or Whistler-inspired Japonisme – with its large, empty spaces, is also paramount.


  • Title: Departure of the Orient - Circular Quay
  • Creator: Charles Conder
  • Date Created: 1888
  • Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Physical Dimensions: 45.1 x 50.1 cm stretcher; 67.0 x 72.0 x 7.8 cm frame
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1888
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.l. corner, incised "CHAS CONDER/ SYDNEY/ 1888". Signed and dated l.l. corner, red oil "CHAS CONDER/ SYDNEY/ 1888".
  • Object Other Titles: Departure of S.S. "Orient" from Circular Quay, Sydney; Departure of the 'Orient'; The Departure of Orient Steamer; Departure of S.S. Orient; Departure of SS. Orient; Departure of S.S. "Orient" from Circular Quay, Sydney; Departure of the S.S. Orient; Departure of the s.s. Orient - Circular Quay; Departure of the 'Orient' - Circular Quay
  • Artist Country: England, Australia

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