(Scotland, Australia 29 Sep 1891–20 May 1974)
97.0 x 244.0cm board; 109.0 x 235.5 x 6.5cm frame
After returning to Australia following his ill-fated raft journey to Timor in 1952, Ian Fairweather moved to Bribie Island in Queensland. Here he began a series of large religious paintings, of which 'Last Supper' is considered the finest.
Elements of his earlier travels through Asia, knowledge of calligraphy and exposure to contemporary European art all fuse in this work, one of Fairweather’s earliest attempts at abstraction. The title refers to Christ’s last meal with his 12 disciples, yet as Fairweather biographer Murray Bail observes:
In what would seem to be a complex repainting of Leonardo’s full-frontal mural, Fairweather tilts the long table, but there is no clearly apparent Christ. Instead, two forces of waving hands and sandalled feet huddle on the left and right. The erupting bedlam suggests more the impending martyrdom of our Saviour by the mob …
'Fairweather's last supper - its journey into our collection' by Barry Pearce, pg. 12-13., Look Jun 2011, Jun 2011, 12-13 (colour illus.).
'Holy row as Philip Bacon buys Ian Fairweather's 'Gethsemane' for $960,000' by Des Houghton., Courier Mail 27 Nov 2010, 27 Nov 2010.
'AGNSW sells painting donated by Patrick White' by Michaela Boland., The Australian 20 Nov 2010, 20 Nov 2010.
'$1 million fair going for gallery' by Katrina Strickland, pg. 3., The Australian financial review 18 Nov 2010, 18 Nov 2010, 3.
'Gallery torn about sale of Patrick White's favoured picture' by Michaela Boland., The Weekend Australian 16 Nov 2010, 16 Nov 2010.
'Controversial painting swap' by Terry Ingram, pg. 51., The Australian financial review 28 Oct 2010, 28 Oct 2010, 51.
Murray Bail (Australia, b.1941) (Author), Ian Fairweather, Sydney, 2009, 143, 147, 148-49 (colour illus.), 150, 156, 238, 255. cat.no. 153; colour plate no. 128; titled 'Last Supper'; private collection, Melbourne
Murray Bail (Australia, b.1941) (Author), Ian Fairweather, Sydney, 1981, 149,152-153 (colour illus.), 172, 220, 243. cat.no. 146; titled 'Last Supper'; Collection of Daniel Thomas, Canberra
'Ian Fairweather retrospective exhibition' by Tom Heath, pg. 106-107., Architecture in Australia [vol. 54 no. 4] Dec 1965, Dec 1965, 107 (illus.).
'Art directory', pg. 141-144., Art and Australia Sep 1965, Sep 1965, 143 (illus.). Collection: Daniel Thomas; Caption reads: 'The W.D. & H.O. Wills Prize was won this year by Ian Fairweather with one of his finest paintings to date. This success followed soon after the loan exhibition of his paintings since 1934 which circulated amongst the State galleries. This year, too, saw his Drunken Buddha Exhibition of paintings used to illustrate his translation of the Chinese novel of this name'.
'Retrospective collection by Ian Fairweather' by Wallace Thornton, pg. 14., The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Jul 1965, 21 Jul 1965, 14.
Queensland Art Gallery (Australia, estab. 1895) (Curator), Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition, South Brisbane, Jun 1965. cat.no. 52; titled 'The Last Supper'; Collection Daniel Thomas
Macquarie Galleries (Australia, estab. 1925, closed 1993) (Author), Ian Fairweather (1958), Sydney, 1958. cat.no. 1; titled 'The Last Supper'; priced 125 guineas
Ian Fairweather (1958), Macquarie Galleries, 19 Nov 1958–01 Dec 1958.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), Queensland Art Gallery, 03 Jun 1965–04 Jul 1965.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 21 Jul 1965–22 Aug 1965.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], 09 Sep 1965–10 Oct 1965.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), National Gallery of South Australia, 26 Oct 1965–21 Nov 1965.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), Western Australian Art Gallery, 09 Dec 1965–16 Jan 1966.
Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition (1965-1966), Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 Feb 1966–13 Mar 1966.
Ian Fairweather 1891-1974: a centenary commemoration (1991), National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], 25 Sep 1991–06 Nov 1991.
Australian Collection Focus: some recent acquisitions: - Nolan, Boyd, Fairweather, Rees (2010), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 16 Oct 2010–09 Jan 2011.