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An image of Sunday evening by Russell Drysdale

Russell Drysdale

(England, Australia 07 Feb 1912 – 29 Jun 1981)

Sunday evening
Other titles:
Sunday Afternoon
Media category
Materials used
oil on asbestos cement sheet

60.0 x 76.0 cm board; 75.3 x 92.0 x 6.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Russell Drysdale". Not dated.
Purchased 1942
Accession number
© Russell Drysdale Estate
Not on display
Further information

Painted shortly after Russell Drysdale settled in Sydney, 'Sunday evening' is one of his earliest works depicting outback themes. It reveals the emergence of a style and approach to subject matter that signalled a radical break from his
previous experiments as a student. Exemplifying Drysdale’s skill as a draughtsman, the painting also confirms the importance of the figure in his work throughout his career.

Inspired by the empathy he felt for country people during the Depression, Drysdale depicted what he saw as the uniquely Australian qualities of life on the land. His approach in Sunday evening is influenced by fellow Australian artist Peter Purves Smith, by surrealism, and by the School of Paris artists Modigliani and Soutine. Drawing on these influences, Drysdale evolved his own distinctive vision of human existence on an ancient continent.

Bibliography (50)

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Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 15.

Peter Bellew (Editor), Art in Australia [series 4, no. 5], 'Two Australian painters', pg. 8, 63-64., Sydney, Mar 1942, 8, 63 (colour illus.), 64.

Jennie Boddington, Drysdale: photographer, Melbourne, 1987, 14 (illus.).

Ian Burn, National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, Sydney, 1990, 189, 192-96.

Helen Campbell, Look, 'Russell Drysdale 1912-1981', pg. 14-15, Heidelberg, Apr 1998, 14 (colour illus.).

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Helen Campbell, Look, 'Drysdale in focus', pg. 22-23, South Yarra, Jul 2001, front cover (colour illus.), 22 (colour illus.), 23.

Helen Campbell, Australian Collection Focus: Russell Drysdale Sunday evening 1941, 'Russell Drysdale Sunday evening 1941: towards an Australian archetype', pg. 2-5, Sydney, 2001, front cover (colour illus., detail), 2, 3 (colour illus.), 4-7, 8 (colour illus., detail).

Paul Carter, Living in a new country: history, travelling and language, London, 1992, 67-68.

Gary Catalano., Quadrant, 'The figure of Russell Drysdale', Sydney, Apr 1982, 23, 27.

Our Art Critic., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Pictures for Art Gallery', Sydney, 31 Mar 1942.

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Andrew Sayers, Drawing in Australia: drawings, water-colours, pastels and collages from the 1770s to the 1980s, Melbourne, 1989, 181. refered to as 'Sunday afternoon'

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Exhibition history (11)

Exhibition of Landscape Paintings, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 25 Jun 1941–07 Jul 1941

Russell Drysdale (1942), Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 11 Mar 1942–30 Mar 1942

Contemporary Australian painting from the National collection, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1946–1950

A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953

Contemporary Australian Painters (1957):

Russell Drysdale: a retrospective exhibition of paintings from 1937 to 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Oct 1960–06 Nov 1960

Russell Drysdale: A retrospective exhibition; paintings 1937-1960 (Queensland Art Gallery), Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 22 Apr 1961–28 May 1961

Russell Drysdale 1912-1981:

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

Australian Collection Focus: Russell Drysdale Sunday evening 1941, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Jun 2001–23 Sep 2001

"When I was young...": artists' impressions of childhood, Global Arts Link, Ipswich, 09 Nov 2002–02 Feb 2003