(Australia, England 25 Jun 1919–23 Nov 1970)
45.5 x 37.3cm board (irreg.); 59.4 x 51.8 x 3.3cm frame
Painted by David Strachan in France in 1955, the subject of this portrait is Alexandre Sarrés, also known as Maurice Brasseur or Mau, a Belgian engraver and illustrator for the journal Osmose cahiers littéraires, edited by Jean Cocteau. While in Paris, Strachan had developed an interest in deep colour etching, establishing the private printing house Stramur-Presse along with Dutchman Jacques Murray in 1951.
A member of the Sydney Charm School, which defied the progress of abstraction in Australian art during the 1960’s, Strachan took inspiration from the quattrocento and the late romantic periods. Working within the traditional genres of still-life, landscape and portraiture, the artist instilled the ordinary with humility and sensitivity by means of uncomplicated compositions, sombre tones and an honest treatment of paint.
'Basically, the thing that I’m really striving for is to express the feeling I have about the subject, and sometimes I can put it down very quickly, and sometimes it takes me months and months of reorganisation of the shapes and colours and tones to get that feeling. When I’ve got that, that is as much as I can do'.
David Strachan, 1962
Strachan died prematurely at the age of 51 in car accident at Yass in November 1970. Despite his modest output, he was honoured posthumously with both a memorial (1973) and retrospective exhibition (1993).
Lou Klepac (Australia; Croatia, b.1936) (Editor), David Strachan, Sydney, 1993, (colour illus.), 126. titled 'Portrait of Sarrés'; cat.no. 29
Philip Bacon Galleries (Australia, estab. 1974) (Compilator), David Strachan 1919-1970, Brisbane, Oct 1989, (colour illus.). titled 'Portrait of Sarrés'; cat.no. 22; priced $10,000
Daniel Thomas (Author), David Strachan, 1919-1979, Sydney, 1973, 9, 22 (illus.). titled 'Portrait of Sarrés'; cat.no. 22; plate no. 24
New South Wales Society of Artists (Australia, estab. 1895, closed 1960s) (Author), Society of Artists Exhibition of Drawings and Prints 1960, New South Wales, 1960. titled 'Portrait of Sarres'; cat.no. 133; priced 40 guineas; not paginated
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1960), Farmer's Blaxland Gallery, 25 Aug 1960–06 Sep 1960.
David Strachan 1919 - 1970 (1973), Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 10 Feb 1973–10 Mar 1973.
David Strachan 1919 - 1970 (1973), Art Gallery of South Australia, 23 Mar 1973–22 Apr 1973.
David Strachan 1919 - 1970 (1973), Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, 03 May 1973–27 May 1973.
David Strachan 1919 - 1970 (1973), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 14 Jun 1973–15 Jul 1973.
David Strachan 1919 - 1970 (1973), Queensland Art Gallery, 26 Jul 1973–23 Aug 1973.
David Strachan (1919-1970) Retrospective (1993), S.H. Ervin Gallery, 04 Feb 1993–14 Mar 1993.
David Strachan (1919-1970) Retrospective (1993), Brisbane City Hall Art Gallery and Museum, 20 Mar 1993–18 Apr 1993.
David Strachan (1919-1970) Retrospective (1993), Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 04 May 1993–20 Jun 1993.
David Strachan (1919-1970) Retrospective (1993), City of Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 23 Jul 1993–05 Sep 1993.