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Title

Man, wife and mother-in-law in street

1937

Artist

Danila Vassilieff

Australia

1897 - 1958

  • Details

    Date
    1937
    Media category
    Painting
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    47.0 x 52.5 cm sight; 62.5 x 69.1 x 3.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed u.r. corner, black oil "Vassilieff". Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Adrienne Allen 2019
    Location
    20th & 21st c Australian art
    Accession number
    128.2019
    Copyright
    © Heide Museum of Modern Art

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    Artist information
    Danila Vassilieff

    Works in the collection

    11

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  • About

    When the nomadic Russian-born Danila Vassilieff (1897-1958) arrived in Melbourne in 1937, his work came as a revelation to many of the generation of experimental artists, including Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester and Sidney Nolan, who were exploring new avenues for their art at this time.

    Vassilieff had been a professional painter for over a decade when he arrived in Melbourne, but his notion of the importance of an untutored artistic expression, his style of rapid brushwork and sparsely painted surfaces appealed to younger artists as radical. As did his choice of subjects, painted in the streets and laneways of Melbourne’s inner city, by capturing moments of everyday working class life, its movement, poverty and the graffitied, decaying environments in a style that itself appears akin to a form of street art.

    'Man, wife and mother-in-law in street' 1937 is a portrait of Vassilieff’s landlord and family in Fitzroy. The figures appear formally posed, slightly awkward, as if waiting to be photographed. But any stiffness to the figures is countered by the dynamics of graffiti on the wall against which they stand, which instils a sense of the pulsating life-forces of the streets. Vassilieff’s loose, sketch-like line work and his bare palette aligns features of the figures’ dress and their outlines to their backdrop, suggesting a connection to their surrounds. Vassilieff believed in painting from the realities of life, but equally in extracting a sense of the vital undercurrents of the city in his works. Equipped with such ideals, he created his own form of visual urban poetry from the poverty-stricken Melbourne streets in which he painted.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 8 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

Other works by Danila Vassilieff

See more works