(Scotland, Australia 29 Sep 1891–20 May 1974)
86.4 x 88.8cm board; 105.0 x 108.0 x 4.0cm frame
This painting was conceived while the artist was living in Peking (now known as Beijing) in 1935-36. Fairweather had first visited China in 1929, where he was captivated by the excitement, colour and cosmopolitanism of Shanghai. He learned Mandarin and travelled with his sketchbook to Beijing, the Lake Country, and the charming towns of Hangchou and Suzhou. But it was Beijing which captured his interest most, and he determined to return there after a few months in Melbourne in 1934.
'Tea garden, Peking' reveals Fairweather's Slade School training in figurative drawing and his awareness of both western modernism, and oriental painting and calligraphy. He made a number of related studies, including a smaller version, now in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The painting's complex but harmonious composition, and its joyous celebration of colour and the tactile qualities of paint is central to the attraction of Fairweather's work to so many younger Australian painters.
The central motif of mother and child is repeated in many other paintings and drawings, including 'Nutmeg sifters' and 'Anak Bayan', also in the Gallery's collection. In 'Tea garden, Peking' the figure of mother and child is situated within a clear space at the heart of a microcosm of social harmony - a reflection on a cherished ideal of the artist.
'Acts of benevolence' by Craig Brush, pg. 11., Look Jul 2011, Jul 2011, 11 (colour illus.).
'Years of enrichment: The society reaches another milestone' by Craig Bush, pg. 12-15., Look May 2009, May 2009, 13, 14 (colour illus.).
Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Author), Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 99-100 (colour illus.).
'Unveiling Fairweather', pg. 8., Look Sep 2004, Sep 2004, 8 (colour illus.).
'Ian Fairweather's Chinese encounter' by Barry Pearce, pg. 28-31., Look Aug 2004, Aug 2004, front cover (colour illus., detail), 7 (colour illus.), 28 (colour illus.), 30, 31.
'Lookout', pg. 6., Look Jul 2004, Jul 2004, 6. 7.
'Hermit's masterpiece enjoys its day in the sun' by Alan Mascarenhas, pg. 2., The Sydney Morning Herald 11 May 2004, 11 May 2004, 2 (colour illus.). 'Edmund Capon and Inge Grant, president of the Art Gallery Society, show off the new acquisition, 'Tea garden, Peking', yesterday'.
Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd. (Australia) (Author), Christie's Australia. Australian, International and Contemporary Paintings. Melbourne 3&4 May 2004, South Yarra, 2004, 22, 23 (colour illus.). cat.no. 23
'Australian art', pg. 19-20., Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2004 2004, 2004, 18 (colour illus.), 19.
'Auction fatique sets in' by Alison Harper, pg. 10-11., The Australian art market report Winter 2004, Winter 2004, 10, 11 (illus.).
Murray Bail (Australia, b.1941) (Author), Ian Fairweather, Sydney, 1981, 51 (illus.), 52, 232-233. cat.no. 35; figure no. 17; titled 'Cafe scene, Peking'; dated 1935
Carnegie Institute (United States of America), The 1937 international exhibition of paintings, Pittsburgh, 1937. cat.no. 159 O; titled 'Tea Garden in Peking'
The 1937 international exhibition of paintings, Carnegie Institute, 14 Oct 1937–05 Dec 1937.
Australian, international and contemporary paintings, Caspian Gallery, 23 Apr 2004–25 Apr 2004.
Australian, international and contemporary paintings, Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd., 30 Apr 2004–03 May 2004.
Yin-Yang: China in Australia, S.H. Ervin Gallery, 08 Aug 2008–28 Sep 2008.