exhibition in the
series centres on
important place in
the Gallery’s collection of 20th century Australian art. This was the
first of Drysdale’s works to be purchased by the Art Gallery of New
South Wales (in 1942), and, indeed, was the first of his works to be
purchased by any public art museum in Australia.
Painted in 1941, this work is of seminal importance in the
development of Drysdale’s unique vision. As one of the artist’s
earliest paintings with an inland theme, it broke radically with the
established Heidelberg school vision of rural Australia as a
sun-drenched pastoral arcadia – imagery which decades
previously, had come to epitomise for Australians the essential
characteristics of their land and people.
Instead, in a painting which revealed an emerging personal style,
and signalled the future importance of the figure to his image of
Australia, Drysdale focussed on an evocation of strange human
survival amidst the isolation and hardship of the interior. Sunday
evening, with other paintings of 1941 on similar themes, heralded
Drysdale’s future role in shaping an alternative national identity
based on the distinctiveness of Australian inland life.
This exhibition and accompanying publication will explore the
context in which Sunday evening was produced, providing a
background to Drysdale’s interest in inland subjects and to the
range of influences on his approach.
The Australian Collection Focus series exhibitions are held in a
space in the Gallery’s 20th Century Australia Courts specifically
devoted to this special series of small, changing exhibitions. Each
exhibition focuses on a comprehensive evaluation and the results
of recent curatorial research.
The Australian Collection Focus series is generously sponsored
by ABN AMRO Rothschild.
Sunday evening 1941
oil on asbestos cement sheet, 60 x 75.9cm