Menzies Art Brands



Typically, Australian landscape painting of the 1940s depicted vast open country and sprawling bushland. Sali Herman chose to paint locally and capture the close-at-hand realities of Sydneys urban environment. His choice of subject was misunderstood and referred to as slum-scapes that threatened to dismantle the great Australian dream.1 Now, Hermans iconography is considered important as it portrays the lifestyle and, significantly, the feeling of Sydney during the post war era.

The present work, Dadswells Studio 1948 shows Australian sculptor Lyndon Dadswells (1908-1986) workspace that was situated on the corner of Jersey Road and Thorne Street on the edge of Paddington. The studio, converted from an old, disused stable, sat behind Douglas Dundas terrace house. A hive of activity, Dadswell can be seen creating a sculpture while others lay scattered in the unruly undergrowth. Broken windows frame the building, and a dog pootles in the foreground. Herman refers to, although with artistic licence, Dadswells Reclining Nude series from 1945-9 that explored clay and concrete, materials thought then appropriate to modern sculpture.2

The photograph taken of Dadswells studio in the late 1940s (Fig.1) is a useful comparison. Dadswells daughter, Penny Zylstra, has happy memories of playing around the studio as well as helping her father with his sculpture. The evocation captured by Herman allows the viewer to be transported to a place and time unknown by many of its inhabitants today

1. Pearce, B., Sali Herman: Retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1981, p.9
2. Edwards, D., Lyndon Dadswell 1908-1986, Wild & Woolley PTY. LTD, Sydney, 1992, p.50

Clementine Retallack


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