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Title

Study for 'Walls of China'


Artist

Russell Drysdale

England, Australia

07 Feb 1912 - 29 Jun 1981


About

This drawing is related to Drysdale's major painting 'Walls of China', also in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection. It arose out of Drysdale's journey in 1944 through the drought-stricken inland of western New South Wales. A series of dry seasons had culminated in a year of severe drought, the worst on record. Towards the end of the year 'The Sydney Morning Herald' commissioned him to accompany reporter Keith Newman and a photographer to cover the story. Drysdale's illustrations for three newspaper reports led to recognition of his great skill as a draughtsman; while his experience inspired a remarkable series of paintings including 'Walls of China'.

While Drysdale's newspaper illustrations of the drought were mostly based upon memory or thumbnail sketches that he had made on the spot; this drawing was made in the studio following his return to Sydney. As part of his working process, Drysdale created this small pen and ink drawing 'Study for 'Walls of China'. It summarises his planned composition for the painting, revealing a stage when he had selected the wind-eroded form of a dead tree to comprise the central motif, symbolising the devastation he had witnessed.


Details


Date

(1945)


Media category

Drawing


Materials used

pen and black ink on cream machine wove paper


Dimensions

20.2 x 25.1 cm sheet


Signature & date

Signed l.l., pen and black ink "R. Drysdale". Not dated.


Credit

Gift of the artist 1972


Location

Not on display


Accession number

56.1972


Artist information

Russell Drysdale

Works in the collection

37


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Art Gallery of Western Australia, The drawings of Russell Drysdale: 1980 Perth survey of drawing, Perth, 1980. cat.no. 54