The British National Coal Strike of 1912, in which coal miners fought to obtain a minimum wage, inspired similar campaigns across Australia and New Zealand. Social realist painter Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo drew on these turbulent times in this portrayal of a dispirited miner, seated with the Labor Party newspaper, The Worker, at his feet, his unused pick and shovel leaning against the bare wall.
Undoubtedly one of the most innovative and charismatic teachers in Sydney during the first decades of the 20th century, Dattilo-Rubbo is recognised for his leading role in the development of modernism in Australia.
oil on canvas
121.6 x 91.4 cm stretcher; 140.5 x 110.5 x 8.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, red oil "A Dattilo-Rubbo/ ... 1913".
© Estate of Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Thirty-fourth Annual Exhibition of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales (1913), Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, Aug 1913 -
Cav. Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo: painter and teacher and some prominent pupils (1980), Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Manly, 05 Dec 1980–18 Jan 1981
Italian artists working in 19th century Australia (1993), S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 24 Sep 1993–21 Nov 1993
Australian Collection Focus: Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo (2011), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 May 2011–14 Aug 2011
Glorious Days: Australia 1913, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 07 Mar 2013–13 Oct 2013
Referenced in 5 publications
Jean Campbell, Cav. Antonio Dattilo-Rubb : painter and teacher and some prominent pupils, 'Introduction', pg. 4-22, Sydney, 1980, 23, 29. cat.no. 3
Emma Collerton, Australian Collection Focus: Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, 'Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo', pg. 2-5, Sydney, 2011, 10 (colour illus.).
J.F. Williams', Art and Australia, 'Modernism & the lost generation', pg. 52-57, Sydney, Spring 1991, 55 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas (Editor) and Ron Radford (Assistant Co-ordinator), Creating Australia: 200 years of art 1788-1988, Melbourne, 1988, 149 (colour illus.).
Unknown, Royal Art Society of New South Wales 34th annual exhibition (1913), Sydney, 1913. cat.no. 53; price: 100 gns