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Russell Drysdale

A football game


  • Artist
    Russell Drysdale
  • Born
    1912
  • Died
    1981
  • Title
    A football game
  • Date of Production
    1943
  • Medium
    oil on board
  • Dimensions
    43.8 x 57.5 cm
  • Credit Details
    Purchased, 1949. © Estate of Russell Drysdale

Encouraged by his teacher George Bell to find his subjects in the life about him, Drysdale painted a series of works about the hinterlands of western New South Wales. Purchased at a time when the special character of Drysdale's work had yet to be recognized A football game depicts a mother and her children in a vast empty landscape.

Although isolated from the rest of society the figures appear to be at one with their surroundings - the arms of the young boy echo the branches of the dead tree while the solidity and strength of the woman match the harsh and alien environment. The highly individual style developed by Drysdale in response to the Australian landscape appears to have little connection with any former school of Australian painting. Certainly he was one of the first painters to draw inspiration from the fringes of the desert where there are no grand sweeping panoramas and where survival is more important than heroic deeds.