Lindsay Bernard Hall became Director of the National Gallery of Victoria and Master of its schools in 1892, positions he held until 1934. Occupying an difficult position somewhere between the Gallery Trustees and the Felton Bequest Committee, and the landscape tradition and modernism, he is a most under-rated figure in Australian art history.
Exhibition records confirm that Hall’s work sold steadily throughout his lifetime however much of what was sold has not been located.
An interesting aside involves his painting titled ‘Sleep’
In 1907, copies of the Australian publication ‘Lone Hand’ were seized in Wellington, New Zealand, on the grounds that the frontispiece, Bernard Hall’s painting from the nude called ‘Sleep’, was obscene.
The ensuing court proceedings produced varied opinions on the question of nudity in art, which demonstrated a shift from Victorian constraint towards more liberal attitudes. As the focus of this debate, Hall’s ‘Sleep’ has been invested with an increased significance as an example of the Edwardian nude.
Its subsequent acceptance by Australian audiences and its purchase in 1919 by the National Gallery of Victoria acknowledged its status as part of a legitimate art tradition.