The man in black, Napier Waller
  • Artist
    Napier Waller
  • Born
    1894
  • Died
    1972
  • Title
    The man in black
  • Date of Production
    circa 1926
  • Medium
    colour linocut
  • Dimensions
    30.6 x 17.6 cm
  • Credit Details
    Purchased, 1977

Napier Waller

The man in black

A leading muralist and stained glass designer, Napier Waller was the first to make and exhibit linocuts in Australia, a technique to which he was probably introduced while convalescing after World War I. Most of his work in this medium was produced before 1930 and included works in colour, a technique with which he started to experiment in 1925. In this self portrait, Waller has controlled the ink so as to create a mottled effect that gives the work its luminous quality.

The man in black shows the subject as a well dressed, self confident individual in front of part of a mural (also designed by the artist) for the Melbourne Public Library, circa 1921.  Waller, who had lost his right arm during the war, has also included both arms in this image. The frieze featuring peace, prosperity and pastoral activities was not carried out as the commission went instead to H Septimus Power.