Charles Meere was one of a group of Sydney artists whose work modernised classical artistic traditions as a means of depicting national life during the inter-war period. The epitome of his vision is Australian beach pattern, a tableau of beach goers whose athletic perfection takes on monumental, heroic proportions. Meere created a crowded and complex composition through the pattern of figures, which appears as a still-life of suspended strength. This iconic painting encapsulates the myth of the healthy young nation symbolised by the tanned, god-like bodies of the sunbathers.
This work was a finalist in the 1940 Sulman Prize and was acquired by the Gallery in 1965.
From the Gallery Shop
8.0cm wide x 5.5cm high
oil on canvas
91.5 x 122.0 cm stretcher; 108.0 x 138.8 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "CHARLES MEERE 1940".
© Charles Meere Estate. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
Sir John Sulman Prize
Where the work was made
Shown in 11 exhibitions
Archibald, Wynne and Sulman (1940), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Jan 1941–23 Feb 1941
Charles Meere A.R.C.A. (1952), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 20 Aug 1952–28 Aug 1952
On the Beach, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Dec 1982–28 Dec 1982
Celebrity Choice - Sam Neill, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Jan 1987–08 Feb 1987
Two hundred years of Australian painting : Nature, people and art in the southern continent:
On the beach: Australian Artists at the shore, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Bulleen, 05 Dec 1994–05 Feb 1995
Ready, set, ... go! Sporting life and Australian art, Global Arts Link, Ipswich, 18 Aug 2001–11 Nov 2001
"When I was young...": artists' impressions of childhood, Global Arts Link, Ipswich, 09 Nov 2002–02 Feb 2003
Strike a pose, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul, 13 Feb 2004–04 Apr 2004
Art Deco 1910-1939, NGV: International, Melbourne, 27 Jun 2008–05 Oct 2008
Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 21 Sep 2013–08 Dec 2013
Referenced in 49 publications
Ian Burn, National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, Sydney, 1990, 178, 180 (colour illus.), 216. plate no. 140
Joy Eadie, Art Monthly Australia, 'In time of war: Charles Meere's Australian beach pattern', pg. 26-31, Canberra, Dec 2005-Feb 2006, 26 (colour illus.), 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Classical allusions', pg. 135-136, Sydney, 2000, 135, 136, 138, 139 (colour illus.), 301.
Merryn Gates, Strike a pose: Hunter art.1 art tourist 2004, 'Putting you in the picture', pg. 8-16, Lake Macquarie, 2004, 13, 18.
James Gleeson, Sun, 'No warmth in Meere's paintings', pg. 17, Sydney, 21 Aug 1952, 17. NOTE: General review of Charles Meere exhibition held at David Jones Art Gallery 1952.
Harry Gordon, Olympic Opening Ceremony Sydney 2000, 'Sport ... a magnificent obsession', pg. 6-8, Sydney, 2000, 8 (colour illus.).
Deborah Hart, Australia, 'Australian landscape: pathways into the modern world 1920-50', pg. 184-225, London, 2013, 188, 189, 204, 205 (colour illus.). fig.no. 139
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 147 (colour illus.).
Heather Johnson, Aspects of Art Deco in Australia: Sunrise over the Pacific, 'Art Deco art', pg. 96-105, Sydney, 2001, 98 (colour illus.), 100, back cover dust jacket (colour illus.). plate no. 113
Anne Loxley, National Trust magazine [no. 41], 'Two styles from 1830's Sydney', pg. 17-18, Sydney, Sep 1987, 17, 18 (illus.).
Steve Meacham., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Bondi: A biography', Sydney, 26 Dec 2005, (colour illus.). Article located online.
Steve Meacham, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Muse worthy', pg. 6, Sydney, 26 Dec 2005, 6 (illus.).
Steven Miller, Look, 'An artist for all seasons: Arthur Murch', pg. 14, Melbourne, Jul 2000, 14.
Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Making Sydney modern: the artistic shaping of the postwar city', pg. 66-85, Sydney, 2013, 79, 183 (colour illus.), 314, 323.
Robert Rosenblum, The beach, 'Art on the beach', pg. 8-14, Florida, 2002, 12, 13 (colour illus.).
John Saxby, Look, 'A window opens on new stories about building the collection', pg. 26-28, Sydney, May 2015, 26.
Linda Slutzkin, Creating Australia: 200 years of art 1788-1988, 'Spartans in Speedos', pg.176-177, Melbourne, 1988, 9, 176-177, 177 (colour illus.), 239, 246.
Susannah Smith, Look, 'Australian guests: Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts, London', pg. 16-18, Sydney, Dec 2013-Jan 2014, 18.
Richard Taylor, Insites, 'Bondi', pg. 2-3, Glebe, Summer 2005, 3 (colour illus., detail).
Where London, 'Wizards of Oz', pg. 30, Augusta, Sep 2013, 30 (colour illus.). editor's pick
Deutscher and Hackett fine art auction: Melbourne 26 November 2008, Woollahra, Nov 2008, 38, 39. Related work: 'Australian beach pattern' by Studio of Charles Meere, lot 18
The new McCulloch's encyclopedia of Australian art, Carlton, 2006, 672 (colour illus.). Another version titled 'Australian Beach Pattern'; dated c.1938-1940; Courtesy estate of the artist and Deutscher Fine Art.
On holidays: a history of getting away in Australia, North Melbourne, 2005, front cover (cover illus., detail), back cover (colour illus.).
Bondi: a biography, 'An artists' paradise', pg. 4, Sydney, 2005, 4 (colour illus.).
Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'From bread to circuses: people at leisure', pg. 101-124, Melbourne, 2004, x (colour illus., detail), xi, 118 (colour illus.), 130-131. illus.no. 103
Body culture: Max Dupain, photography and Australian culture, 1919-1939, 'Laughing Gods in bathing costumes', pg. 176-191, Mulgrave, 2004, 188, 189 (colour illus.), 190.
The Sydney auction: Australian and International Art: Fine Art, 4 March 2003, Sydney, 2003, 48-49. Lot no. 29 is another, smaller version of the AGNSW painting.
Sand in our souls, 'The achievement of freedom on the beach', pg. 68-81, Carlton South, 2001, 70, 71 (illus.).
Australian modern masters and 19th & 20th century Australian and International Fine Art: Fine Art auction 3 & 4 May 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 100. reference to work in assocation with lot 62 'Bronte Beach'
L'Australie: Naissance d'une nation, 'D'une guerre à l'autre (1900-1950)', pg. 95-111, Rennes, 2000, 104 (colour illus.). plate no. 147
The Bodysurfers, Victoria, 2008, front cover (colour illus., detail).
Daily telegraph and daily news, 'Painting of Beach scene', pg. 5, Sydney, 21 Aug 1952, 5 (illus.). NOTE: Photo of Charles Meere infront of painting; General review of Charles Meere exhibition held at David Jones Art Gallery 1952.
Australian readers - Discovering Democracy - Middle Primary Collection, Carlton South, 1999, 27 (colour illus.).
Art is ... making, creating and appreciating 2, Milton, 1999, 114 (colour illus.).
Discovering Democracy, Middle Secondary Units, Carlton, 1998, 140 (illus.).
Eyewitness travel guides: Australia, 'Introducing Sydney', pg. 56-69, London, 1998, 61 (colour illus.).
Looking At Australia, Australia, 1997, 11, 23, 37, 111.
Art in Australia: from Colonization to Postmodernism, London, 1997, 94 (illus.), 96. fig.no. 74
Author Unknown, Wool in the Australian imagination, Glebe, 1994, (illus.).
Art now: contemporary art post - 1970, Sydney, 1994, 33 (illus.). fig. no. 2.10
Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 118 (colour illus.), 183. cat.no. 67
Art deco painting, Oxford, 1990, 58, 102=103 (colour illus.), 104. plate no. 72
Australia - the painter's vision, Kensington, 1987, 144, 145 (colour illus.), 202. plate no. 89
On the beach, Sydney, 1982, 18 (illus.). cat.no. 13
Bulletin, 'Landscape Landscapes.', pg. 11, Sydney, 27 Aug 1952, 19. NOTE: General review of Charles Meere exhibition held at David Jones Art Gallery 1952.
The Sydney morning herald, 'Lively picture exhibition: Society of Artists. Three bought for Gallery', pg. 9, Sydney, 05 Sep 1940, 9.
Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (illus.). card no. 15: Anne Zahalka 'The bathers' 1989
The beach, Australia, 2000, 00:01.25 and 00:46.25 (colour, details).
Important Australian art, 'Important Australian art: lots 1-41', pg. 6-74, Sydney, Aug 2014, 34. Related work: 'Australian beach pattern' c1940 by Charles Meere