Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

View More:


Tamarillo harvest



Donald Friend


06 Feb 1915 - 16 Aug 1989


In the last years of his life, deteriorating health prompted Friend to turn to the more immediate convenience of still life as a subject for painting. He produced some of his most beautiful watercolours during this period when, as he wrote poignantly in his book 'Art in a Classless Society' published in 1985:

"Did I retire or was I exiled from that garden of earthly joys? ... Farewell to youth then. And to the Nude ... In life as in art, much of what we accept is a barely adequate substitute for something we would rather have.

The greengrocer's shop is crammed with colourful models, attractive vegetable rivals to those warm blooded bipeds in blue jeans who lean provocatively against lamp posts playing pocket billiards or to the polychrome butterfly painted ladies clad in varieties of musical comedy drag ... For sheer loveliness the fruit and vegetables win hands down."




Media category


Materials used

watercolour on white wove paper


56.5 x 75.5 cm sheet; 79.0 x 98.0 x 2.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, pen and black ink ".../ Donald Friend". Not dated.


Purchased 1987


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Donald Friend

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Christine France, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Donald Friend / Margaret Olley', pg. 128-139, Sydney, 2002, 132, 133 (colour illus.), 143, 147.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 93 (colour illus.), 123. 83

Hendrik Kolenberg, Twentieth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1989. 18

Barry Pearce., Older Australian masters: an exhibition of works by major Australian artists executed in the later years of their careers, 'Preface', Sydney, 1991, (colour illus.). not paginated, no catalogue numbers

Barry Pearce, Donald Friend Retrospective 1915-1989, 'Introduction', pg. 9-20, Sydney, 1990, 125 (colour illus.). 105