Russell Drysdale was a gifted draughtsman, and drew continually, developing his powers of observation and capturing his subjects in numerous variations. The 1940s saw his interests broaden to encompass aspects of Surrealism, as well as the work of Picasso, Modigliani and Henry Moore, which in turn informed Drysdale's renowned paintings of the Australian landscape; these works were to confirm his reputation as a major Australian artist. His work always remained centred on his sympathy for ordinary people and everyday experience.
This drawing was made in 1941 or 1942 from memory. Drysdale had attended a party, and saw a woman leaning back into an armchair, a cigarette between her lips. 'I remember being struck with the pose and did think of painting it but never got round to it. I gave it to Sydney Ure Smith because he liked it so much' [as related to Daniel Thomas, AGNSW, by the artist]. Sydney Ure Smith (1887-1949) was an artist, publisher, collector and friend to many artists, including Drysdale.
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004
pen and black ink, dry brush and brown ink on paper
28.2 x 38.4 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pen and ink "Russell Drysdale". Not dated.
Not on display
© Russell Drysdale Estate
Where the work was made
Shown in 6 exhibitions
The Drawings of Russell Drysdale - 1980 Perth Survey of Drawing:
Everyday Life, prints, drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European Art:
Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1997–15 Mar 1998
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Themes and Variations: Australian drawings from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, 17 Oct 2008–30 Nov 2008
Russell Drysdale: the drawings:
Referenced in 5 publications
Art Gallery of Western Australia, The drawings of Russell Drysdale: 1980 Perth survey of drawing, Perth, 1980. cat.no. 20
Lou Klepac, Russell Drysdale: the drawings, Sydney, 2012, 58 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, 10 (colour illus.), 68 (illus.). cat.no. 59
Hendrik Kolenberg, Everyday life: prints drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European art, Sydney, 1994. cat.no. 23
Sydney Ure Smith (Editor), Australian present day art, Sydney, 1943, 34.