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Australian art

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The pool



Ian Fairweather

Scotland, Australia

29 Sep 1891 - 20 May 1974


'The pool' is one of Fairweather's masterpieces. It has clear references to Cézanne, revealing Fairweather's deep admiration for his work, with linear patterning derived from a fascination with Chinese calligraphy. His indebtedness to the famous bathing subjects of Cézanne is clearly signified by the figures, entangled mysteriously within the picture plane. It indicates the growing complexity of Fairweather's images from the late 1940s, juxtaposing positive over negative forms and painting in many accumulating layers. This is one of four major paintings from 1959 to 1962 in which Fairweather added the Chinese characters for the word 'auspicious' to his signature, indicating his own satisfaction with them.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Place where the work was made

Bribie Island Queensland Australia



Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on cardboard on hardboard


96.5 x 117.8 cm board

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, black synthetic polymer paint "IF" [monogram]. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Cézanne Dinner Fund 1999

Accession number


Artist information

Ian Fairweather

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Bribie Island

Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2000, 'Year in review', pg. 8-20, Sydney, 2000, 5 (colour illus.), 8.

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Anak Bayan', pg. 141-157, Sydney, 2009, 155, 156 (colour illus.), 256. plate no. 133; 164

Murray Bail, Mary Eagle, Drusilla Modjeska, Martin Armiger, Joanna Capon and Pierre Ryckmans, Fairweather, Australia, 1994, 33, 107 (colour illus.), 143. plate no. 35

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, Sydney, 1981, 154, 155 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 231 (colour illus.), 300.

Ross K Luck, A guide to modern Australian painting, Melbourne, 1969, 34 (colour illus.).

John Douglas Pringle, Australian Painting Today, London, 1963, 72 (colour illus.).

Queensland Art Gallery (Curator), Fairweather: a retrospective exhibition, South Brisbane, Jun 1965. 37; not paginated

Laurie Thomas, Modern Australian painting and sculpture: a survey of Australian art from 1950-1960, 'Introduction', pg. 1-10, Adelaide, 1960, 49 (colour illus.). titled 'Pool'; Collection of Kym Bonython, Adelaide;

Whitechapel Art Gallery (Compilator), Recent Australian Painting, London, 1961, 19 (illus.). 23; plate no. XIX; titled "Pool".