At the time this painting was created, Eric Wilson was working as a ward attendant at Sydney's Lidcombe State Hospital. Drawing inspiration from his surroundings, the subject of this painting is an autoclave – a machine that heats liquids above boiling point to obtain sterilisation. Instead of portraying the machine from a single vantage point, Wilson has embraced cubist theories which attempted to convey three-dimensional objects from several angles at once.
In his later career, Wilson championed cubism in both his teaching and exhibited works, such as 'Hospital theme – the sterilizer', which was shown at the fourth annual Contemporary Art Society exhibition in 1942.
oil on hardboard
81.3 x 47.0 cm board; 95.0 x 59.8 x 6.7 cm frame :
0 - Whole; 81 x 46 cm; SIGHT DIMENSION
Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, red oil "Eric Wilson". Dated l.l. corner, pencil "42".
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 5 publications
Sue Cramer and Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'Re-picturing the Modern World 1940-1949', pg. 109-143, Carlton, 2009, 127, 129 (colour illus.).
Craig Lilienthal, Journal of the Medical Defence Union, Sydney, 1995, front cover (illus.).
George Palmer and Stephanie Short, Health care and public policy: an Australian analysis, South Yarra, 2000, front cover (colour illus.).
Andrew Sayers, Eric Wilson, Newcastle, 1983, 52 (illus.). cat.no. 50
Fourth Annual Exhibition: Contemporary Art Society, Sydney, 1942. cat.no. 119; priced 30 gns