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Australian art

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Aboriginal stockmen

circa 1953


Russell Drysdale

England, Australia

07 Feb 1912 - 29 Jun 1981


In 1951 Russell Drysdale travelled to Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland where he developed an interest in Indigenous Australians as a subject for his work. Many of the paintings he produced during this time depict Aboriginal subjects in urban and rural settings, and reveal the artist’s objective compassion toward the people he met and painted. These works formed a significant social comment on the sense of displacement experienced by Indigenous people during the early 1950s in Australia.

'Aboriginal stockmen' emanates from this period and presents two young Indigenous Australian stockmen standing side-by-side in a photographic-type format. Portraying the young men at a close proximity – in comparison to related works, such as ('Group of Aboriginal people') (1953) – the painting establishes a more intimate connection between its subject and the viewer.


Other Title

Station boys


circa 1953

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


76.5 x 60.9 cm stretcher; 87.8 x 72.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, red oil "Russell Drysdale". Not dated.


Gifted by Ausgrid on behalf of the NSW Government 2013


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Russell Drysdale

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Macquarie Galleries, Russell Drysdale, 'Catalogue', Sydney, 1953, n.pag.. 14

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'Lost boys from the bush found in the city', pg. 10, Sydney, May 2015, 10, 28 (colour illus.).