B. 1915 – 2020
Erwin Fabian, son of painter Max Fabian, was born in Berlin. Of Jewish heritage, he fled to London in 1938 when racial tensions began escalating in Germany; here he took art classes at night, spending his days at the Victoria and Albert Museum library where he taught himself about art.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Fabian was deported to Australia as an ‘enemy alien’ where, upon his release, he served with the Australian army until the war’s end. In 1950 he moved back to London before settling back in Australia twelve years later.
Fabian is considered one of Australia’s most important sculptors, creating abstract yet still anthropomorphic assemblages out of scrap metal. On his interest in scrap material, he recounted “I got onto working with scrap because it’s what I found in the bush or at scrap yards or from a timber mill. I didn’t start with a nice clean piece of marble or steel. I started with something which I’d found attractive looking. Trying to produce something or make use of these things because they were there, I find that fascinating.”
Working across sculpture, drawing and printmaking, Fabian is represented across public collections, including at the British Museum in London, Art Gallery of New South Wales and National Gallery of Australia.