John Peter Russell (16 June 1858 – 30 April 1930) was an Australian impressionist painter.
Born and raised in Sydney, Russell moved to Europe in his late teenage years to attend art school.
A tall and athletic "man's man", popular with other students, Russell befriended fellow pupil Vincent Van Gogh.
The pair went on a painting trip to Belgium, and in 1886, Russell created the first oil portrait of the future world-famous artist, now held at the Van Gogh Museum.
That same year, Russell painted with Claude Monet at Belle Île.
Russell moved there soon after with his wife, Marianna Russell, one of sculptor Auguste Rodin's favourite models.
Henri Matisse visited Russell at Belle Île in the 1890s, and later credited the Australian with introducing him to impressionist techniques and colour theory.
Despite painting prolifically and maintaining close ties with the European avant-garde, Russell rarely exhibited his works and, having received a large inheritance from his father, showed no interest in making money from art.
After his wife died in 1907, Russell, grief-stricken, destroyed hundreds of his paintings.
He returned to Sydney in old age, where he died in relative obscurity.
His niece, Australian artist Thea Proctor, did much to posthumously promote Russell's art, and by the late 20th-century, a number of biographies and exhibitions had helped restore his reputation as a significant artist.
Today his works are held in major galleries in his home country and in Europe, including the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée Rodin in Paris.While in Europe, Russell maintained correspondence with Australian impressionist painter Tom Roberts, updating him on developments in French impressionism.
Since he remained in Europe for much of his career and descended into obscurity after his death, Russell became known as Australia's "lost impressionist".