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An image of Fish traps, Peking by Ian Fairweather

Ian Fairweather

(Scotland, Australia 29 Sep 1891 – 20 May 1974)

Fish traps, Peking
Other titles:
Landscape near Peking
Alternative title:
Walls of China
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
oil on cardboard

52.3 x 48.8 cm sight; 68.3 x 64.8 x 3.2 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, black (ink?) "IF". Not dated.
Purchased with assistance from Katies 1982
Accession number
© Ian Fairweather/DACS. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

Ian Fairweather first went to China in 1929, where he studied Mandarin in Shanghai for a short time. He returned there in 1935, this time living in Peking (Beijing), where he isolated himself from other Europeans and continued lessons in the Chinese language and calligraphy. He spent much time drawing, as he had trouble finding paid work, and his impoverished condition meant he had to improvise with painting materials leading him to experiment with Chinese chalks, for example. Despite his poverty, he managed to produce a number of landscape oils, including 'Landscape near Peking'. It is among very few Fairweather paintings of Chinese subjects actually painted in China, although he later made drawings and paintings from memory or drawings produced during his time there. Fairweather left China permanently in 1936 but its legacy remained with him, infusing his art for the rest of his life.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (6)

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Peking, 1935', pg. 38-45, Sydney, 2009, 44 (colour illus.), 247. plate no. 23; 30; titled 'Fish Traps, Peking'

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 228 (colour illus.), 300.

John McDonald, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Ian Fairweather', pg. 28-39, Roseville, 2000, 32 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Ian Fairweather's Chinese encounter', pg. 28-31, Newtown, Aug 2004, 31 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce and Patrick McCaughey, Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara Series, Tokyo, 1985, 18 (colour illus.). 3

East of the Sun, Sydney, 1997. List of works

Exhibition history (5)

Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara series from the collection of CRA Limited, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 04 Oct 1985–06 Nov 1985

East of the Sun (1997), The Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills, 01 Jun 1997–17 Nov 1997

The drawings of Ian Fairweather (1997-1998), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Oct 1997–07 Dec 1997

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

Yin-Yang: China in Australia, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 08 Aug 2008–28 Sep 2008