COOK, Ebenezer Wake (1843-1926)


COOK, Ebenezer Wake (1843-1926)
water-colour painter
was born at Maldon, Essex, England, on 28 December 1843. He was brought to Melbourne in 1852, and when 17 years of age became an assistant to Nicholas Chevalier (q.v.), who instructed him in painting, wood-engraving and lithography. He was one of the original members of the Victorian Academy of Arts in 1870, and in 1872 studied under Eugene von Guerard (q.v.) at the national gallery of Victoria. In that year he won the medal for the best water-colour exhibited at the exhibition of the New South Wales Academy of Art. In 1873 he went to London, and from 1875 until 1926 was a constant exhibitor at the Royal Academy. In 1904 he published a pamphlet, Anarchism in Art and Chaos in Criticism, which was followed 20 years later by Retrogression in Art and the Suicide of the Royal Academy, an attack on all un-academic painters from Manet onwards. Cook for a time was president of the Langham Sketch Club, and an original member and honorary secretary of the Royal British-Colonial Society of Artists. He died early in 1926. His work was popular with some collectors and dealers, but it was too often merely pretty when it was meant to be beautiful, and it has few lasting qualities. He is represented in the national galleries at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Royal Academy Catalogues; U. Thieme, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Kuünstler.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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