The painting portrays many people awakening in the morning hours of a city’s life; the white surf of their consciousness riding the crest of the vast waves of the mind’s sea as it breaks upon the sands of the morning; and the first objects of the real world – alarm clocks, breakfast trays, trains to be caught – impinge upon dreams and bring an awareness of the passing of time. Something of the illimitable reaches of the mind, and its retention of not only infantile experiences, but also age-old remnants washed up from the ocean-deeps of man’s existence as a social being, are indicated by the strange negroid and Easter Island-like statues that stand beyond the crest of the farthest waves; islanded in the waters of a dream-world, from which men sail back downwards to consciousness and the necessities of a new day.
Bernard Smith, 1945
oil on canvas on hardboard
50.7 x 74.5 cm board; 67.0 x 90.7 x 5.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, beige oil "MAX EBERT 39".
© Estate of Herbert McClintock
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Artists as Social Commentators and Activists 1946-2006:
Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes (working title), Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 09 Oct 2015–31 Jan 2016
Referenced in 3 publications
Sally Quin, Bauhaus on the Swan: Elise Blumann, an emigre artist in Western Australia, 1938-1948, Crawley, 2015, 52 (colour illus.).
Bernard William Smith, Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'Surrealism and the neo-surrealist developments', pg. 214-238, South Melbourne, 1979, 216 (illus.), 234. plate no. 87
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Acquisitions for 1969', pg. 538, Sydney, Jul 1970, 544 (illus.). plate no. 31