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Australian art

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(Morning underground)



Weaver Hawkins

United Kingdom, Australia

28 Aug 1893 - 13 Aug 1977


Australian artists who, in previous decades, had taken to the bush in search of motifs which served as keynotes for Australian life and landscape, entered the decade of the 1920s with a new impetus, embracing all that the modern, mechanised city had to offer. Urban and residential development, which transformed the provincial outpost of Sydney into the sprawling metropolis of the 1930s, was to prove inspirational for many artists of this period.

As bridges, buildings and other spectacles of engineering began to soar towards the skies, artists such as Grace Cossington Smith and Margaret Preston adopted pictorial approaches drawn from sources as diverse as Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, van Gogh, and to a lesser extent, the Cubists, in an attempt to reconcile industrial expansion with orthodox visions of an antipodean Arcady. For many of these artists, however, the portrayal of the modern city was a triumphant declaration of colour as the foundation of form.

Weaver Hawkins, who arrived in Australia in 1935, brings the claustrophobic confines of modern living to the fore in his densely populated canvas, 'Morning underground', which depicts commuters travelling on the London Underground.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


76.0 x 100.0 cm stretcher; 96.7 x 120.7 x 6.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated u.r. corner, brown (oil?) "HWH 22".


Purchased 1976


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Weaver Hawkins

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 116 (colour illus.), 300.

Gavin Fry, Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, 'Introduction', pg. 7-10, Sydney, 1994, 9 (illus.), 48. 10

Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Patrick White's choice', pg. 114-119, Carlton, 2002, 115.

Steven Miller and Eileen Chanin, The art and life of Weaver Hawkins, Chapter three '1919-1935', pg. 38-56, Sydney, 1995, 40, 104, 105 (colour illus.), 220. plate no. 1

Daniel Thomas AM, Project 11: Weaver Hawkins, Sydney, 1976. 6

Patrick White, Patrick White's Choice, Sydney, Dec 1981, illus.. 3