This painting was derived from a photograph of the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson honeymooning on the deck of their yacht. It depicts the two abstracted figures in the centre of the composition, framed and isolated by lines and shadows. Exemplifying de Maistre’s geometric-cubist style, the work is formed out of solid curves of funnels, wires and gunwales. Shadows echo and extend these curves, which intersect with the straight lines of other structures and create geometric forms of flat colour.
De Maistre created some of his most resolved paintings during the mid 1930s, living in England. The artist had left Australia unable to make a living solely from his practice.
On board (On the deck)
oil on hardboard
51.0 x 61.0 cm board; 57.2 x 67.1 x 4.1 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, incised "R de Maistre". Not dated.
Gift of Patrick White 1974
Not on display
© Caroline de Mestre Walker
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Exhibition of paintings, sculpture and drawings by Roy de Maistre and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 26 Jun 1943–29 Aug 1943
Roy de Maistre: Retrospective exhibition of Paintings and Drawings 1917-1960, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, May 1960–Jun 1960
Project 14 - Roy de Maistre: 1894-1968 (1976), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Sep 1976–04 Oct 1976
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 9 publications
Dr David Hansen, Important Australian and International Art: Melbourne 22 November 2011, Catalogue entry for Lot 12 Roy de Maistre 'La Folie', pg. 30-31, Melbourne, 2011, 30.
Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'Australia in the World and the World in Australia 1930-1939', pg. 57-95, Carlton, 2009, 61 (colour illus.).
Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Strangers in the Motherland', pg. 5-19, Carlton, 2002, xi, 11, 14, following 48 (colour illus.), 130, 177.
Heather Johnson, Roy de Maistre: The english years, New South Wales, 1995, 93, 107, 122, 124-125. plate no. 36 shows a study of figures for 'On the deck'
Heather Johnson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Roy de Maistre / Roland Wakelin', pg. 48-59, Sydney, 2002, 54, 143.
David Marr, Patrick White: A life by David Marr, Milsons Point, 1991, 169-170, 262.
Sir John Rothenstein and Bryan Robertson, Roy de Maistre: A retrospective exhibition of paintings and drawings from 1917-1960, London, 1960, 12. cat.no. 36; Coll: Patrick White, Esq.
Jill Sykes, Look, 'Small and temporary: but it's a big pointer to the future', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Sep 2011, 28, 29 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas (Curator), Project 14: Roy de Maistre 1894-1968, Sydney, 1976. cat.no. 10