William Charles Piguenit was Australia’s first locally-born professional painter. Born in Hobart, Tasmania on 27th August 1836, the son of a convict father and a free-settler mother. His dramatic landscapes were frequently shadowed by moody skies and characterised by a grandness of scale.
From 1850 to 1873 Piguenit was employed as a draughtsman with the Lands Department in Hobart. His first recorded watercolours were exhibited in 1866 at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition. In 1874 he resigned his position after twenty-three years service in order to have time to devote himself entirely to his art. As well as views in and around Hobart much of his work concentrates on the south-west highlands of Tasmania. In the mid 1870s Piguenit painted and exhibited in New South Wales and then settled in Sydney in 1880. Already a member of the New South Wales Academy of Art, the Victorian Art Society and the Auckland Art Society,
in 1880 he was a founding member of the Art Society of New South Wales.
In 1898 and again in 1900 Piguenit visited England; he also had work exhibited at the Paris Salon. He became a regular exhibitor at the Art Society of New South Wales and served on its council. Three of his dramatic landscapes were included in the Society’s Federal Art Exhibition in 1901, the same year he was awarded the Wynne Prize for landscape painting. He died at Hunters Hill, New South Wales on 17th July 1914.