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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Le Grand Palais, Clemenceau, De Gaulle and me



Kevin Connor


1932 -


'I love drawing in Paris in my sketchbook, just wandering about drawing people. I did a drawing in my sketchbook outside the Grand Palais and this statue of Clemenceau is there and very small, at the bottom right-hand side of the picture
you can see the new statue of De Gaulle … ' (Kevin Connor, from ABC interview, 4 August 2005).

Kevin Connor’s expressive, atmospheric drawing is a vivid evocation of the artist’s abiding love of French art, history and culture. Connor has visited the French capital regularly since the 1950s, with annual trips more recently to work for
short concentrated periods. While walking adjacent to the Grand Palais during a visit in 2003, he found himself in direct line of view with two statues of Clemenceau and De Gaulle, and was inspired to make a pen and ink sketch as they appeared to him: two figures seen in dramatic perspective, from the grand-scale foreground rear view of Clemenceau with greatcoat and fluttering scarf, to the distant profile of De Gaulle, striding through a wintry parkland of wiry, leafless trees (ill in Hendrik Kolenberg, Sketchbook drawings by Kevin Connor in Sydney, Paris and London, AGNSW, Sydney, 2006). On working up his sketch to this larger drawing two years later, he inserted a small portrait of himself at work on the scene, at bottom left, in witty conjunction with these two elder statesmen.

This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2005 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2005.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

charcoal on white wove paper


102.0 x 150.0 cm sheet; 120.0 x 168.2 x 4.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., charcoal "Connor '05".


Gift of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2005


Not on display

Accession number


Dobell Prize for Drawing

Winner - 2005

Artist information

Kevin Connor

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Christopher Allen, The Australian Financial Review, ‘Drawn to extremes’, pg. 47, Sydney, 06 Oct 2005, 47 (illus.).

Claire Armstrong (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 2), 'Artnews 2005: major Australian art prizes 2005', pg. 210, Sydney, Dec 2005-Feb 2006, 210 (illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2006, Sydney, 2006, 32 (illus.).

Rosalie Higson, The Australian, ‘Artist’s maxim: make a line for the drawing room’, pg. 3, Canberra, 05 Aug 2005, 3 (illus.). Connor is pictured inspecting the work.

Victoria Hynes, the (sydney) magazine, 'Dobell Prize for Drawing', pg. 123, Sydney, Nov 2005, 123 (illus.). In the 'boxoffice' section of 'the (sydney) magazine'.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 6, 44, 45 (illus.), 61.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Drawing conclusions', pg. 14-17, Sydney, Sep 2006, 14 (illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Nov 2011, front cover (illus.), 9 (illus.), 29.

Samantha Selinger-Morris, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Dobell goes to artist with sketchy picture of his talent’, pg. 2, Sydney, 05 Aug 2005, 2 (illlus.). Connor is pictured standing in front of the work.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, Sydney, Oct 2005, 43 (illus.).