Fish traps, Peking
29 Sep 1891 - 20 May 1974
Ian Fairweather first went to China in 1929, where he studied Mandarin in Shanghai for a short time. He returned there in 1935, this time living in Peking (Beijing), where he isolated himself from other Europeans and continued lessons in the Chinese language and calligraphy. He spent much time drawing, as he had trouble finding paid work, and his impoverished condition meant he had to improvise with painting materials leading him to experiment with Chinese chalks, for example. Despite his poverty, he managed to produce a number of landscape oils, including 'Landscape near Peking'. It is among very few Fairweather paintings of Chinese subjects actually painted in China, although he later made drawings and paintings from memory or drawings produced during his time there. Fairweather left China permanently in 1936 but its legacy remained with him, infusing his art for the rest of his life.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000
Landscape near Peking
Walls of China
oil on cardboard
52.3 x 48.8 cm sight; 68.3 x 64.8 x 3.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, black (ink?) "IF". Not dated.
Purchased with assistance from Katies 1982
© Ian Fairweather/DACS. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara series from the collection of CRA Limited, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 04 Oct 1985–06 Nov 1985
East of the Sun (1997), The Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills, 01 Jun 1996–17 Nov 1996
The drawings of Ian Fairweather (1997-1998), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Oct 1997–07 Dec 1997
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Yin-Yang: China in Australia, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 08 Aug 2008–28 Sep 2008
Referenced in 6 publications
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 228 (colour illus.), 300.
John McDonald, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Ian Fairweather', pg. 28-39, Sydney, 2000, 32 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Look, 'Ian Fairweather's Chinese encounter', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Aug 2004, 31 (colour illus.).
Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Peking, 1935', pg. 38-45, Sydney, 2009, 44 (colour illus.), 247. plate no. 23; cat.no. 30; titled 'Fish Traps, Peking'
East of the Sun, Sydney, 1997. List of works
Barry Pearce and Patrick McCaughey, Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara Series, Tokyo, 1985, 18 (colour illus.). cat.no. 3