|This major collection of works by Donald Friend was held in April 2012.
Also included were a selection of works by artists who painted with Donald Friend such as Margaret Olley, Jean Bellette, David Strachan and Russell Drysdale.
Click here to view other available works by Donald Friend
Tuesday to Friday, 9.30am - 6pm
Saturday, 11am - 5pm
Painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor and illustrator, Donald Friend was undoubtedly one of Australiaís finest modern artists. During his lifetime, Friend exhibited in London with Walter Sickert and Augustus John and today his work hangs in all major Australian public institutions, as well as private collections in Australia and overseas.
An intrepid traveller, Donald Friend continually sought an exotic lifestyle. The earliest work in the show titled "Warrior" which dates from around 1938 when he travelled to Nigeria following a stint in London, where he became an advisor to the Ogoga, King of Ikerre. Friend resided in the Kingís palace where he lived like royalty with servants. He spent two years helping the Ogoga with general administrative tasks whilst painting relentlessly.
When the war broke out, Friend was forced to return home and he enlisted in the army. Eventually, it was suggested that he would be better suited as a war artist, a post that took him to Borneo in March 1945. Later that year, in December, Friend returned to Australia and stayed with the Drysdale family where he painted from his war-time sketchbook. "Beach Fisherman, Borneo" (1945) shows the influence of Russell Drysdale in the elongation of the figures and the use of the moody reds and ochres in the palette.
A posthumous retrospective of his work was held at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1990. In the catalogue the then Gallery Director Edmund Capon noted that Friend was ìa man of unique imagination and the most gregarious taste. His work constantly refreshed by new experience, emphasises and expresses every shade and dimension of his lifeî. Though still life and landscapes were a strong part of his oeuvre, the presiding theme of his work is based on the study of the human figure, and much of his figurative work is based on his keen observations of the many different people he met and befriended as he travelled around the world.