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Title

The birds of paradise

1945

Artist

Eric Thake

Australia

08 Jun 1904 - 03 Nov 1982

  • Details

    Date
    1945
    Media category
    Watercolour
    Materials used
    pencil, gouache
    Dimensions
    38.1 x 47.4 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, "Eric Thake 1945".

    Credit
    Purchased 1947
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    7835
    Copyright
    © Estate of Eric Thake

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Eric Thake

    Works in the collection

    128

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  • About

    Eric Thake served as an official War Artist from 1944-46 in Australia and the Pacific, when for the first time he was able to work full time as an artist. He faced few restrictions in his choice of subject in his drawings, watercolours and paintings of everyday life and military operations.

    Thake's satirical approach to his subject is revealed in the title – the 'birds of paradise' are aircraft buzzing the disintegrating remains of a wrecked aeroplane beached on a tropical shore. The surrealist sensibility of his imagery is underscored by an emphasis on an apparently weightless metal propeller, suspended in the centre of the composition and counterpointed against an idyllic landscape. This disjunction can be seen as a comment upon the chaos and devastation of warfare, whilst the inherent strangeness of the wreck provides a metaphor of simultaneous human creativity and destructiveness.

    © Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

Other works by Eric Thake

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