Honing a thing down until you can still get through with economy, that’s power. Learn your technique thoroughly, immerse yourself in it, and then just throw it all out the window and express what you feel – and it will come through that you are a technician.
William Dobell, 1970
William Dobell made some of his finest life studies while attending the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1929 to 1930, which emphasised a traditional approach and the importance of a grounding in drawing from the life model, followed by painting. Revealing his early mastery of the figure, Dobell’s 'Nude' of 1931 is a work of infinite grace and sensuousness.
oil on canvas on wood
89.5 x 69.2 cm board; 105.5 x 84.5 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, pale brown oil "William Dobell". Not dated.
Not on display
© Courtesy Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.
Shown in 19 exhibitions
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1939), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 04 Aug 1939–25 Aug 1939
Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition (1942), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Mar 1942–16 Apr 1942
William Dobell (1944), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 01 Aug 1944–26 Aug 1944
100 years of Australian painting (1948), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Apr 1948–17 May 1948
Twelve Australian Artists:
- Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, Bath 05 Sep 1953–26 Sep 1953
- City of Bradford Art Gallery, Bradford 03 Oct 1953–24 Oct 1953
- Derby Art Gallery, Derby 05 Dec 1953–26 Dec 1953
- City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, Bristol 02 Jan 1954–23 Jan 1954
- City of Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, Northern Ireland 30 Jan 1954–20 Feb 1954
- New Burlington Galleries, London 12 Jul 1954–22 Aug 1954
Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d'Arte Venice, 1954, Australian Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, 19 Jun 1954–Oct 1954
Contemporary Australian paintings - First loan exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Sep 1955–19 Oct 1955
Contemporary Australian Painting - Pacific Loan Exhibition (1956):
Contemporary Australian painting (1957), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, Feb 1957–Mar 1957
William Dobell (1960), Museum of Modern Art in Australia, Melbourne, 17 May 1960–10 Jun 1960
Dobell loan exhibition, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 22 Jun 1960–30 Jul 1960
Art exhibition (1963), The Journalist's Club, 22 Oct 1963–post 22 Oct 1963
Exhibition of paintings by William Dargie, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, George Finey and William Pidgeon (1963), The Journalist's Club, 22 Oct 1963 -
William Dobell: Paintings from 1926 - 1964 (1964), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jul 1964–30 Aug 1964
William Dobell the painter's progress (1997-1998):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 14 Feb 1997–27 Apr 1997
- Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle 07 May 1997–06 Jul 1997
- Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Bulleen 29 Jul 1997–21 Sep 1997
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 25 Oct 1997–07 Dec 1997
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 08 Jan 1998–01 Mar 1998
Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from Australian collections (2000), S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 15 Jan 2000–27 Feb 2000
Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart (2002), S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 12 Jan 2002–24 Feb 2002
Portraits in context: the early work of William Dobell (2003), Carrick Hill, Australia, 08 Mar 2003–29 Jun 2003
William Dobell: hard drawing (2007-2008), Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 15 Dec 2007–10 Feb 2008
Referenced in 14 publications
William Dobell', William Dobell: portraits in context, 'Portraits in context: selected early works, pg. 21-25, Kent Town, 2003, 22, 38 (colour illus.), back cover (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, William Dobell - the painter's progress, 'Early figure studies', pg. 23-31, Sydney, 1997, 24, 30 (colour illus.), 31, 144. cat.no. 3a
Hal Missingham, Contemporary Australian painting, 'Introduction', pg. 5-6, Auckland, 1957, inside front cover (illus.), 9. cat.no. 9; plate no. 1
Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart selections, Sydney, 2002. NOTE: No catalogue numbers; Margaret Olley selection.
Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from public and private collections, Sydney, 2000. Catalogue entry appears in inserted list to printed catalogue
Barry Pearce, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'William Dobell', pg. 76-87, Sydney, 2000, 78 (colour illus.).
Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 10. cat.no. 58
The Journalist's Club, Art Exhibition (1963), Sydney, 1963. cat.no. 21
Laurence Thomas, Twelve Australian artists, 'Introduction', pg. 6-10, London, 1953, 12. cat.no. 4
Kenneth Wilkinson (Editor), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 77], Sydney, Nov 1939, 10 (illus.).
Ross Woodrow, William Dobell: hard drawing, Newcastle, 2007, 36, 40 (colour illus.), 68.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Australian National Journal, Spring 1939, 36 (illus.).
Author Unknown, William Dobell, 1960. plate no. 2, cat.no. 2
Editor Unknown (Editor), Australian National Journal, 1942, 60 (illus.).