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Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently closed but will reopen to the public on 1 June. The Gallery will be observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State. More information




Australian art

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Life drawing 47



Peter Powditch


1942 -


Peter Powditch’s flat reductive canvasses, lithographs, sculptures and reliefs take their subjects – including landscape and the figure – from everyday life. One of his key themes in the 1960s and 70s was the female nude. Depicted partially concealed by a garment or towel, and often without a head or legs, Powditch’s nudes emphasised the anonymity and fleshy sexuality of their central figure. None are identifiable individuals but rather, represent types – the bikini-clad sun worshipper or towel-wrapped bather – that speak to a 1960s Australian conception of sexuality embodied in the nubile female form. Objects for the heterosexual male gaze, Powditch’s nudes reflected the permissive moral attitudes and youth cultures of their day.

Powditch’s nudes were based on a strong foundation of life drawing, which the artist has practised in a methodical manner for decades. These drawings were made in the mid-1970s and remained in the artist’s studio until acquired by the Gallery. Rapidly executed from life, they reveal his skilful rendering of human mass and form and understanding of bodily movement. Less anonymous than the iconic nudes of his paintings and prints, they retain a sense of the model’s flesh and blood.




Media category


Materials used

pencil on ivory wove paper


28.0 x 19.0 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, pencil "Powditch 76".


Purchased with funds provided by the Gil & Shay Docking Drawing Fund 2017


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Peter Powditch

Works in the collection