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Study for 'Something is going to fall like rain'



James Gleeson


21 Nov 1915 – 20 Oct 2008

Artist profile

  • Details

    Other Title
    Media category
    Materials used
    charcoal on cream paper
    30.8 x 47.4 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., charcoal "Gleeson 23.12.82".

    Gift of Frank O'Keefe 1990
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation

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    Artist information
    James Gleeson

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The title of this work is from three lines in W H Auden's poem 'The witnesses' 1932-34: 'The sky is darkening like a stain;/ Something is going to fall like rain,/ And it won't be flowers'.

    '... It was one of the key poems that I discovered many years ago, that had an effect on me like the T S Eliot poems', Gleeson quoted in Renée Free's unpublished catalogue of James Gleeson's work.

    This drawing is a study for the bottom half of the painting, while a second is for the top half [see 138.1990.1].

    'This has an even more tormented sky ... In a key position in it, a fairly generalised adaptation of El Greco's 'View of Toledo' [circa 1597-99, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York]. This has been a painting I always admired and have never been disenchanted with ... it is one of THE greatest landscape paintings of all time to my mind. I wanted to imply something of the mood of that painting but transmuted into an imaginary world beyond the normal visual experience one could have in nature ... I was very conscious of the fact that it was painted at a time when the Inquisition was in full force and that the burning of heretics was probably going on at the very moment when the painting was made. I felt the world today is in a predicament not unlike that', Gleeson quoted in Free.

    Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'James Gleeson: drawings for paintings', Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2003, pg. 75.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by James Gleeson

See all 502 works