After winning the New South Wales Society of Artists Travelling Art Scholarship in 1937, Eric Wilson sailed to London and studied at the Royal Academy schools. A brief trip to Paris roused his enthusiasm for modern art, and he soon after
moved to the Westminster School, London, where he studied abstract design, underpinned by cubist philosophy. Wilson then studied at Amédée Ozenfant's Academy of Fine Arts, which strongly influenced him to develop a formalised pictorial manner derived from the cubist tradition.
'Abstract – the kitchen stove' exemplifies this development in Wilson's work - he uses a domestic subject to explore formal elements such as colour, shape, surface patterning and texture. The painting is constructed around lines which delineate a triangular composition, its apex formed by the pot on the stove leading up into the stove-pipe. It demonstrates Wilson's attempt to create an 'orchestration of the formal elements into a symphonic whole'.
alkyd, oil, collage, sand, sawdust, aluminium paint on plywood
145.5 x 79.7 cm board; 150.7 x 84.8 x 6.6 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., "Eric Wilson-1943".
Gift of the New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship Committee 1946
Shown in 8 exhibitions
100 years of Australian painting (1948), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Apr 1948–17 May 1948
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship 1900 to 1956, National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Apr 1956 -
The Arts Festival of the Olympic Games (1956), National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne, 18 Nov 1956–15 Dec 1956
The Real Thing, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Bulleen, 08 Dec 1997–22 Feb 1998
Cuisine and country: a culinary venture in Australian Art:
- Orange Regional Gallery, Australia 06 Apr 2007–20 May 2007
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 08 Jun 2007–22 Jul 2007
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 28 Aug 2007–21 Oct 2007
- Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, Australia 26 Oct 2007–09 Dec 2007
- Riddoch Art Gallery, Mt Gambier 15 Dec 2007–15 Feb 2008
- Broken Hill City Art Gallery, Broken Hill 26 Mar 2008–05 May 2008
- Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney 16 May 2008–15 Jun 2008
- Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns 01 Jul 2008–15 Aug 2008
- Artspace Mackay, Queensland 31 Aug 2008–30 Sep 2008
Australian Cubism, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 24 Nov 2009–08 Apr 2010
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 21 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 105 (colour illus.).
Professor Joseph Burke, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art in Australia', pg. 10, Sydney, 04 Feb 1954, 10. General reference
Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian 20th Century Art', pg. 71-89, Sydney, 1984, 85 (colour illus.).
Sue Cramer and Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'Re-picturing the Modern World 1940-1949', pg. 109-143, Carlton, 2009, 127, 130 (colour illus.).
Paula Dredge, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Colour and modern paint in the interwar decades', pg. 118-119, Sydney, 2013, 118, 211 (colour illus.), 317, 324.
Douglas Dundas, Art and Australia (vol. 12, no. 1), 'Eric Wilson', pg. 48-57, Sydney, Jul 1974-Sep 1974, front cover (colour illus.), 56.
Douglas Dundas, Eric Wilson Memorial Exhibition Souvenir Catalogue, Sydney, 1947. cat.no. 14; titled 'The kitchen stove', one of seven pictures under the heading 'Abstracts'; not paginated
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 131 (colour illus.), 302.
Juliana Engberg (Curator), The Real Thing, Australia, 1997, 26 (colour illus.), 90.
James Gleeson, Masterpieces of Australian painting, Melbourne, 1969, 131 (colour illus.). plate no. 50
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 148 (colour illus.).
Sandra Jane, Art is ... making, creating and appreciating 2, Milton, 1999, 9 (colour illus.).
Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 51 (colour illus.).
Andrew Sayers, Eric Wilson, 'Introduction', pg. 6-13, Newcastle, 1983, 10-11, 50 (colour illus.). cat.no. 47
Lisa Slade and Rachael Kirsten, Enter Art, Sydney, 2000, sheet number 16 (colour illus.). Education kit produced by the NSW Dept of Education and Training as teaching resource for primary school teachers.
Linda Slutzkin, Interiors - from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1981, 11, 21 (colour illus.). cat.no. 14
Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 10. cat.no. 55; titled 'Abstract'
Bernard William Smith, Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'The modern movement in Australia', pg. 181-213, South Melbourne, 1979, 12, 201, 204 (illus.). plate no. 80
Tony Tuckson, New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship 1900 to 1956, Sydney, 1956, 10. cat.no. 19
Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Australian present day art, Sydney, 1943, 97 (illus.).
Gavin Wilson, Cuisine & country: a gastronomic venture in Australian art, 'Cuisine & Country', pg. 9-66, New South Wales, 2008, 22, 24 (colour illus.), 88.