Profile of Panorama Artist Jeff Morgan
Born in 1956 at Laura, a small mid-north town at the Southern end of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, Jeff Morgan grew up in Wirrabara Forest where he attended the local primary school and then the Gladstone High School.
Early influences in his artistic endeavours were primary school teacher, Peter Rankin, who could see that Jeff had potential to develop as an artist.
Whilst working with the Woods & Forest Dept at Wirrabara Forest, Jeff was also influenced by his supervisor, Geoff Brown, who taught him the importance of being particular about small details in his work. However, although he did a great deal of drawing during his school years, from the time he left school until 1990 Jeff did not draw or paint, but was busy working at the Forest and in his orchard. During this time he also became a licensed painter-decorator and owned a hardware store in Laura.
In 1990 Jeff experienced a change of direction and it was during this time that he picked up a paintbrush and started to paint. Although Jeff has not received any formal art training, he has studied by reading and by visiting art galleries and observing the painting techniques used by other artists.
Jeff went on to become the Artist-in-Residence at RawnsleyPark in the Flinders Ranges for a period of three years. During his time at Rawnsley Park, Jeff’s ability to paint was developed and he was often visited and encouraged in his work by other artists who also loved to paint the Flinders Ranges. Jeff’s preferred painting medium is acrylic paint. The rugged and dramatic scenery of the Australian outback and the Flinders Ranges continues to inspire Jeff to capture its beauty on his canvasses.
Creating the Wilpena Panorama was a God-given vision, however Jeff still had to expand his painting ability and for a number of years he continued to practice his skills. It would be 10 years before the panorama building and painting were completed in 2003. With the creation of his panorama, Jeff has become one of a small number of panoramic artists in the world.
In November 2004 Jeff was invited to speak at the 12 International Panorama Conference in New York and since then Jeff has been a guest speaker at other panorama conferences and has had the opportunity to study the work of other panoramic artists (see below). Jeff is currently a Board Member of the International Panorama Council.
As an honoured guest in China in September 2005, the Chinese Government presented Jeff with an elite blue jacket with gold buttons, as an acknowledgement of his contribution to art. This is the highest honour given to a foreigner. Former Prime Minister, John Howard, is another Australian recipient of the elite blue jacket.
Jeff’s paintings sell worldwide and his depictions of the spectacular outback scenery are sought after by those who visit the region.
Visitors from overseas who have heard of the panorama travel to Hawker especially to see Jeff’s painting which is 3.5mts (11’) high and 33mts (98’) in circumference, and which took 4000 hours to complete. Jeff has painted other panoramas which are also on display in his art gallery in Hawker, South Australia, along with other original paintings and prints.
Jeff and his art gallery have featured in a number of television programmes (Stateline, Postcards, Out of the Ordinary) and in various newspaper articles.
Jeff has attended the following International Panorama Conferences:
November 2004 Guest speaker at the 12 International Panorama Conference, Hunter College, New York, USA
September 2005 Honoured guest at the 13 International Panorama Conference, Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Shenyang, China
September 2006 Guest speaker at the 14 International Panorama Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands
September 2007 Guest speaker at the 15 International Panorama Conference, Universityof Plymouth, Plymouth, England
September 2008 Guest speaker at the 16 International Panorama Conference, Dresden and Leipzig, Germany
Presentations made to Jeff:
2004 New York Set of 3 colour plates showing scenes from the Jinzhou and Jinan panoramas, presented by Chinese Professors Lee and Song of the Luxun Academy of Arts, Shenyang, China.
(On display in the Wilpena Panorama.)
2005 China Elite blue jacket presented by the Chinese Government during the celebration of the 2556 Anniversary of Confucius Jubilee at Qufu.
(On display in the Wilpena Panorama.)
A set of 3 books on the History of Chinese Art and the Luxun Academy of Art, presented by Professor Song Huimin.
2005 South Australia Kenneth Jack, one of Australia’s finest landscape artists, visited Jeff in his studio in Hawker, South Australia, and presented Jeff with a signed copy of a book about Jack’s paintings by Lou Klepac. The book chronicles the extent of Kenneth Jack’s work and especially his love of the outback landscape.
2006 The Netherlands An umbrella printed withthe Panorama Mesdag, presented by the President of the InternationalPanorama Council, Ernst Storm. Also a print showing the Panorama Mesdag.
(Both items on display in the Wilpena Panorama.)
2007 England A set of 12 colour plates showing scenes from the Panorama Raclawicka, presented by
Professor Romuald Nowak, Manager of the Panorama Raclawicka in Wroclaw, Poland.
(On display in the Wilpena Panorama.)
2008 Poland Attended a luncheon held by Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz in Wroclaw, Poland. At the luncheon the Cardinal presented Jeff with a unique silver ring.
A set of 9 books showing the work of the Panorama Raclawicka, Wroclaw, Poland, and presented to Jeff by Professor Romuald Nowak, Manager of the Panorama Raclawicks in Wroclaw, Poland.
Jeff and the Wilpena Panorama are featured in the following publications :
The Panorama Phenomenon
Published by Uitgeverij P/F Kunstbeeld, Panorama Mesdag andthe International Panorama Council
Stanford Who’s Who Black Book
Published by Stanford Who’s Who, New York
Jeff has viewed the following panoramas:
2004 Big Picture, Broken Hill, New South Wales
The Picture is a large canvas – 12m x 100m. The painting features the distinct Australian outback landscape. The artist, Ando, has a style referred to as a blend of perception, reflection, depth, shadow and light to depict a “super realistic” art form.
Vanderlyn Panorama, Metropolitan Museum, New York
One of the biggest and most elaborate paintings in American history, the Vanderlyn Panorama is installed in a specially built circular room in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum. A 165-ft. panorama of the palace and gardens at Versailles, painted in two CinemaScope-like sections. Versailles is a masterwork of American born John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), who had visited Versailles and made sketches to prepare his giant canvas. The panorama was first exhibited in a special building called the Rotunda located near City Hall in downtown New York, and subsequently toured around the country.
Garibaldi Panorama, Brown University, Boston, Massachusetts
Measuring 4½ feet high and 273 feet long, the Garibaldi Panorama is one of the longest paintings in the world. It was completed in 1859 by Robert Burford and Henry Celous. The work depicts the life story of Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, who played a major role in the unification of Italy. The Garibaldi Panorama was once a “moving” panorama, meaning that audiences watched as illustrations of Garibaldi’s life were cranked out before them, including such seminal moments as his involvement in the Italian Risorgimento, escape to South America, and failed defence of the Roman Republic in 1849.
2005 Panorama of the Taking of Jinzhou, Jinzhou, China
The panorama depicts the taking of Jinzhou by the communist armies in 1948. The panorama is 16m high and 122m in circumference and was opened in 1989. The Taking of Jinzhou was the first modern panorama in China. A team of artists, originating from the Luxun Academy of Art in Shengyang worked on the painting between 1986 and 1989.
Panorama of the Battle of Jinan, Jinan, China
Opened in December 2002 this panorama is 18m high and 126m in circumference.
This panorama depicts the first major battle in February 1947 between the nationalist Kuomintang troops and the communist forces. This panorama was also painted by a team of artists of the Luxun Academy of Art in Shengyang.
2006 Panorama Mesdag , Den Hague, The Netherlands
The Panorama Mesdag is a panorama by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Housed in a purpose-built museum in The Hague, the panorama is a cylindrical painting (also known as a Cyclorama) more than 14m high and about 40m in diameter (120m in circumference). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. A foreground of fake terrain around the viewing gallery hides the base of the painting and makes the illusion more convincing.
Panorama of the Battle of Waterloo, Braine l’Alleud, Belgium
The Panorama of the Battle of Waterloo was erected at the base of the Lion of Waterloo, the memorial on an artificial mound near the site of the famous battle. It was created at the initiative of a few French artists, who used the imminent centenary of the battle as an opportunity to paint the panorama. The panorama was opened in 1912 and is 12m in height and 110m in circumference.
The Celestial Vault – Panorama in the Dunes – Den Hague, The Netherlands
Created in 1996 by American artist, James Turrell, this panorama is an ellipse shaped crater, 30m wide and 40m long, constructed on top of one of the rubble dunes. A wall of earth, approx 5m high, encloses the crater. In order to reach this artificial structure, visitors need to climb the dune via wooden stairs and then walk through a 6m long concrete passageway. The slopes on the inside of the crater have been sown with grass and a monumental natural stone bench, large enough to accommodate two people lying on their back, is located in the centre. A similar bench on a slightly higher dune provides a wide-open view of the surrounding area. A panorama unfolds over the seat, the beach, the dunes and the flat countryside beyond. Turrell concentrates on how the observer perceives light and space, and how he/she experiences this perception.
2008 Panorama Raclawicka, Wroclaw, Poland
The Raclawice Panorama (Polish: Panorama Raclawicka) is a monumental 15m x 120m panoramic painting depicting the Battle of Raclawice during the Kosciuszko Uprising. It is currently located in Wroclaw, Poland. The painting is one of only a few preserved relics of a genre of 19 century mass culture, and the oldest in Poland. The panorama stands in a circular fashion and, with the viewer in the centre, presents different scenes at various viewing angles. A special kind of perspective used in the painting and additional effects (lighting, artificial terrain) create a feeling of reality.
Rome 312 Panorama, Leipzig, Germany
The panorama project "Rome 312" is housed in the Panometer Leipzig. The main attraction of the exhibition is the panoramic painting of Rome in the year 312 by the Berlin architect and artist, Yadegar Asisi. It is currently the largest panorama in the world. The perspectively constructed cylindrical image is impressive on account of its full-scale spatial depiction of ancient Rome and the solemn entry of Emperor Constantine with his soldiers on October 29, 312 after the Battle of Milvian Bridge. To an extent, that date marks the last day of ancient Rome. Surrounded by the 106m long and 31m high panoramic painting, the viewer himself becomes immersed in a panoramic setting and in ancient Rome.
The Baroque Dresden, Dresden, Germany
The panoramic painting “1756 Dresden” by the architect/artist Yadegar Asisi is a homage to the rich painting tradition of the city and especially to Bernardo Bellotto, and Italian urban landscape painter, who first arrived in Dresden in 1747. For the first time, a single image shows a complete and historically substantiated view of the electoral metropolis as it may have appeared in the 18th century. The 105m long and 17m high panorama presents views of a city whose face was previously known only in fragments. Using self-made drawings and extracts from digital photos and with the help of a 3-D model, the artist composed his panoramic painting in the style of collage on a computer. His greatest achievement, however, lies in the painting through which he unified the separate pieces into a new, much larger whole.
Jeff has toured:
2006 Mauritshuis – The Royal Picture Gallery, Den Hague, The Netherlands
The core of the collection in this art gallery consists of masterpieces from the Dutch “Golden Age”, including excellent paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Frans Hals. The works on permanent display provide a magnificent display of Dutch and Flemish art from 15 to 17 century.
2008 Picture Gallery of the Old Masters, Dresden, GermOne of the world’s great art galleries, the Picture Gallery of the Old Masters includes works by Flemish and Dutch painters of the 15 and 17 centuries (including van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer), German paintings of the 16 – 18 centuries (including Dürer, Holbein, Cranach), Spanish and French paintings of the 17 and 18 centuries (including Velázquez, Murillo) and the high point of the collection – Italian paintings of the 15 – 18 centuries, particularly Renaissance works (including Raphael, Giorgione, Titan).