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circa 1930s


James Gleeson


21 Nov 1915 – 20 Oct 2008

Artist profile

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  • Details

    circa 1930s
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas on board
    52.0 x 42.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r 'Gleeson'. Not dated.

    Edward Hamilton Stinson Fund 2022
    South Building, ground level, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © Gleeson O'Keefe Foundation
    Artist information
    James Gleeson

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Renowned as Australia’s foremost surrealist painter and poet, James Gleeson’s oeuvre explores the human condition beyond visible reality and the limitations of the senses through powerful enigmas of fleshy biomorphic, mechanical and illusionistic landscape forms. In addition to his contributions to surrealism, throughout his career Gleeson made important contributions to the Australian art world as a dedicated writer, critic and affiliate of a number of art institutions.

    Gleeson studied at East Sydney Technical College from 1934 to 1936, and then at the Sydney Teachers’ College from 1937 to 1938. From 1938 through the 1940s Gleeson experimented with surrealism and produced apocalyptic evocations of the destructive powers of human nature generated from this atmosphere of uncertainty and tension.

    'Daffodil' reflects Gleeson's earlier 1930s experiments in modernism, though the work retains a somewhat surreal feeling, with the daffodils emerging from the rocky ground against a dramatic cliff. As opposed to a more traditional still life depicton of florals in a vase, these flowers stand tall against a blue sky, giving them a monumental quality.

Other works by James Gleeson

See all 502 works