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Title

Study for 'The fortress'

1949

Artist

James Gleeson

Australia

21 Nov 1915 - 20 Oct 2008

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Date
    1949
    Media category
    Drawing
    Materials used
    blue ball-point pen, pen and blue and sienna ink, pale blue wash
    Dimensions
    6.4 x 7.9 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Frank O'Keefe 1993
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    179.1993
    Copyright
    © Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation

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    Artist information
    James Gleeson

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection

    501

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  • About

    Gleeson first conceived this distinctively shaped vessel after reading about burial customs in Sir Thomas Browne's 'Hydriotaphia Urn-Burial; or, a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk' 1658. The urn occurs in a number of paintings, including 'The fortress' 1949, 'Flight' 1950; there is also an oil study for 'Flight' in the collection, and 'The trap 2' 1971.

    Gleeson described the urn in 'Flight' as representing an entry into Hell. Alongside the steps leading to the urn a number of skulls in bark shelters mark the way. Also influential was the existentialist one-act play 'No exit' by French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre (1905-80) first performed in 1944, in which the three principal characters find themselves in Hell.

    Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'James Gleeson: drawings for paintings', Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2003, pg. 48.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Sydney

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

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