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Australian art

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Triple portrait

(circa 1970-circa 1971)


Ian Fairweather

Scotland, Australia

29 Sep 1891 - 20 May 1974


"Well, my real working used to be to carry around a small sketchbook and make studies from various things I saw, but in time I got interested only in a few subjects and I didn't want to go around looking for any more subjects. The problem was to do the one subject, and so it practically boiled down to that. By one subject I mean ... people."
- Ian Fairweather 1965

As Ian Fairweather's work developed it grew more summary and monumental, giving way to symbolic abstraction. Style and subject became unified, his final works increasingly painterly and meditative, with a profound influence on younger abstract artists in Sydney in particular.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Title



(circa 1970-circa 1971)

Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on paperboard on hardboard


106.1 x 75.2 cm board; 122.6 x 91.5 x 6.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1975


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ian Fairweather

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, Sydney, 1981, 213, 216, 217 (colour illus.), 248. plate no. 112; 204

Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather, 'Last paintings', pg. 220-235, Sydney, 2009, 225, 235 (colour illus.), 260. plate no. 202; 231; titled '(Elephant)'

Murray Bail, Mary Eagle, Drusilla Modjeska, Martin Armiger, Joanna Capon and Pierre Ryckmans, Fairweather, Australia, 1994, 136 (colour illus.), 143. plate no. 64

Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 40 (illus.). 43

John McDonald, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Ian Fairweather', pg. 28-39, Sydney, 2000, 39 (colour illus.).

Leon Paroissien (Editor), Australian Art Review, 'Ian Fairweather', p140-143, Rozelle, 1982, 141 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Southern reflections: 10 contemporary Australian artists, 'An Introduction to Australian Art', pg. 34-42, Sydney, 1998, 39 (colour illus.). figure no. 10

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

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Breaking the territorial mould: some thoughts from a new head curator', pg. 30-31, Sydney, Sep 2011, 31 (colour illus.).

Aida Tomescu, Look, 'Aida Tomescu: the art that made me', pg. 14-15, Sydney, May 2015, 15 (colour illus.).