(England, Australia 07 Feb 1912–29 Jun 1981)
121.5 x 91.4cm board; 140.3 x 110.3 x 6.0cm frame
"In the heat of a late afternoon, the stifling air red with dust, the main road empty of life, he conveys a difficult and lonely existence, where man constantly battles against the elements."
- Paul Haefliger 1948
In mid-August 1947, prompted by a Sydney Morning Herald article on the deserted gold towns of New South Wales, fellow artist Donald Friend suggested to Drysdale that they make a trip to the Bathurst area to run in Drysdale's new car. On the way to Hill End where they spent the night, they stopped at Sofala, 200 kilometres west of Sydney.
The resulting 'Sofala', also in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is one of Drysdale's finest, most powerful paintings. With its compelling evocation of the atmosphere and ambience of a oppressively hot summer afternoon in the deserted main street of this historic country town, it transcends literal description of a particular place, to become an expression of the quintessential qualities of an inland Australian town.
Drysdale's later portrait of Donald Friend standing outside the rear of Hill End's Presbyterian church, is a tribute to their friendship and association with these towns whose unique qualities were cherished by both artists.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000
Art Gallery of New South Wales, A selection of eighty-two reproductions mainly from the Australian collection and including examples from the British, French and Dutch [Art Gallery of New South Wales]., Sydney, 1959. plate no. 40
Famous Australian artists, The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1964: Souvenir Catalogue of special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia 1964, Famous Australians, Adelaide, 1964. cat. no. 8
Giles Auty, The Weekend Australian 27 Dec 1997-28 Dec 1997, 'Country characters', pg. 19, Surry Hills, 27 Dec 1997-28 Dec 1997, 19 (illus.). This article appeared in the 'Arts' section of 'The Weekend Australian'.
Helen Campbell, Look Apr 1998, 'Russell Drysdale 1912-1981', pg. 14-15, Heidelberg, Apr 1998, 14 (colour illus.).
Edmund Capon and Ursula Prunster, Face to face: Australian portraits 1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). cat.no. 25
Russell Drysdale, The paintings of Russell Drysdale: reproducing fifteen plates in colour with an essay by Joseph Burke, 'List of works and owners, 1951', pg.47-52, Sydney, 1951, 51.
Geoffrey Dutton, Russell Drysdale, London, 1964, 135 (illus.), 187. plate no. 49
Edwards and Shaw (Printer), Russell Drysdale: retrospective exhibition 1937 - 1960 1960, Sydney, 1960. cat.no. 55
James Gleeson, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly Oct 1960, 'Russell Drysdale', pg. 39-43, Sydney, Oct 1960, front cover (illus.).
Paul Haefliger, The Sydney Morning Herald 23 Mar 1949, 'Drysdale, Fox exhibitions', pg. 7, Sydney, 23 Mar 1949, 7.
Lou Klepac, The life and work of Russell Drysdale, 'Photographs and imagination', pg. 59-66, Kensington, 1983, 61, 93, 274 (colour illus.), 367. plate no. 89
Robert Lindsay., Aspects of Australian Art: Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling art exhibition 1976 1976, 'Russell Drysdale', Sydney, 1976, (illus.). cat.no. 53; not paginated
Tatlock Miller, Sun 23 Mar 1949, 'Russell Drysdale's fine exhibition', pg. 12, Sydney, 23 Mar 1949, 12.
Hal Missingham, Artists by artists 1954, Sydney, 1954, 8, (illus.). cat.no. 21
Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart selections 2002, Sydney, 2002. NOTE: No catalogue numbers; titled 'Portrait of Donald Friend'; Margaret Olley selection.
Andrew Sayers, Sarah Engledow and Wally Caruana, Open air: portraits in the landscape 2008, 'Open air: Portraits in the landscape', pg. 3-66, Sydney, 2008, 39, 42, 44 (colour illus.).
Geoffrey Smith, Russell Drysdale 1912-1981 1997, Melbourne, 1997, 23, 108, 109 (colour illus.). cat.no. 35
Jill Sykes, Look Feb 2007, 'Donald Friend: memories of an artist and good companion', pg. 29-31, Newtown, Feb 2007, 29 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas and Paul Haefliger, Russell Drysdale; a retrospective exhibition of paintings from 1937 to 1960 1960, Sydney, 1960, 57. cat.no. 55
Daniel Thomas, Hemisphere Nov 1960, 'Drysdale's art changed the Australian outlook', pg. 12-18, Sydney, Nov 1960, 16 (illus.).
Gavin Wilson, The artists of Hill End 1995, 'The Hill End group', pg. 41-96, Sydney, 1995, 66 (colour illus.), 69, 73, 84, 93, 119. plate no. 31
Gavin Wilson, The artists of Hill End: Education guide 1995, Domain, 1995, front cover (colour illus.). fig.no. 3. Image appears in detail
Russell Drysdale 1948-1949, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 23 Mar 1949–04 Apr 1949
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1949, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Dec 1949–17 Feb 1950
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Artists by artists (1954), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Nov 1954–05 Dec 1954
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
Famous Australians by famous Australian artists, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 07 Mar 1964–21 Mar 1964
Some interesting Australians: A loan collection of portraits, Georges Gallery, Melbourne, 08 Aug 1967–26 Aug 1967
Aspects of Australian art: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1976, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976–1977
The Artists of Hill End:
Russell Drysdale 1912-1981:
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Favourites: Margaret Olley and Jeffrey Smart (2002), S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 12 Jan 2002–24 Feb 2002
Open Air: Portraits in the landscape, National Portrait Gallery [Parliamentary Zone], Canberra, 04 Dec 2008–01 Mar 2009
Russell Drysdale: the drawings: