Woman with hen, Joy Hester
  • Artist
    Joy Hester
  • Born
    1920
  • Died
    1960
  • Title
    Woman with hen
  • Date of Production
    1956
  • Medium
    watercolour
  • Dimensions
    sheet: 56.5 x 37.5 cm
  • Credit Details
    Gift of Sweeney Reed, 1976

Joy Hester

Woman with hen

Joy Hester studied at Brighton Technical School before attending the National Gallery School, Melbourne (c.1937-1938). Painted with a brush loaded with Indian ink this work possesses a sense of spontaneity that would have been difficult to impart with oil paint.  Hester saw the external environment as being less important than her own inner emotions, and this work is characteristic of her style which sacrifices detail for expressiveness.

This watercolour is one of a series of works dating from the artist's sojourn at Avonsleigh in 1955 - a country property where poultry was being raised for the Christmas market. It is tempting to think that the protective, fearful feelings of the girl for her hen, emphasised by the child's haunting eyes which are focussed on the bird cradled in her arms, is imbued with the artist's own sense of vulnerability. For the last decade of her life Hester was battling with Hodgkin's Disease.