When I arrived in Fremantle, I was struck by how odd the Australian landscape was ... It always worried me that there was no focal point in it, so I simply thought, well I'll paint it and I’ll leave the focal point out.
Fred Williams, 1976
Following his return to Australia in 1957, and strongly influenced by the post-impressionists and Cézanne in particular, Fred Williams began to create images exploring the symmetry and spatial ambiguities of stands of eucalypt saplings.
This resulted in an increasingly abstracted series of watercolours, paintings and prints of trees in Sherbrooke Forest in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, made during the next four years. This painting is a major early work
which signals how far Williams would go in his abstraction of the landscape.
This work was a finalist in the 1961 Wynne Prize and was acquired by the Gallery in 1964.
Sherbrooke Forest I
oil, tempera on hardboard
142.2 x 122.0 cm board; 156.0 x 135.5 x 5.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Fred Williams.". Signed u.r. verso on hardboard on label, black ball-point pen ".../ FRED WILLIAMS".
© Estate of Fred Williams
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara series from the collection of CRA Limited, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 04 Oct 1985–06 Nov 1985
Australian Painters Seeing Cézanne, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Nov 1998–17 Jan 1999
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Referenced in 12 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1964 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1964, 26-27. cat.no. 29
Department of Education and Science (Editor), Hemisphere, Sydney, May 1982-Jun 1982, 374 (illus.).
Sasha Grishin, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Fred Williams', pg. 184-195, Sydney, 2000, 186 (colour illus.), 187, 188.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Celebrating Fred Williams', pg. 24-25, Sydney, Nov 2004, 24.
Barry Pearce and Patrick McCaughey, Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara Series, Tokyo, 1985, 46 (colour illus.). cat.no. 27
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 34.
Ursula Prunster, Australian painters; Seeing Cézanne, 'An era of staunch individuals: the 1940s to 1960s', pg. 9-12, Sydney, 1998, 10, 28 (colour illus.), 31. cat.no. 55. This work is referred to as 'Sherbrooke Forest 1'.
Ursula Prunster, Classic Cézanne, 'Seeing Cézanne: Australian affinities', pg. 61-71, Sydney, 1998, 70, 71 (colour illus.). fig.no. 32
Editor Unknown (Editor), Sun, Sydney, 13 May 1964, page unknown. Gallery purchase
Editor Unknown (Editor), Herald, Melbourne, 24 Jan 1962, page unknown. Melbourne Herald
Editor Unknown (Editor), Sun, Sydney, 20 Jan 1962, page unknown. Wynne Prize review
Editor Unknown (Editor), Sun, Sydney, 19 Jan 1962, page unknown. Wynne Prize review