Fred Williams 'Acacias'

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By depicting the bare bones rather than the surface skin of the land, Fred Williams altered how many Australians envision their landscape. His interest was driven by contrast – after studying at the George Bell School in Melbourne, he moved to London where he drew music halls, fanfare and the zoo. Upon his return to Australia in 157, he was viscerally struck by the difference. Light, scale and harsh beauty surrounded him.

Dated 1976, ‘Acacias’ is an original lithograph, created the year before Williamss solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He was the first Australian to be bestowed the honour. ‘Acacias’ is stark yet elegant, a lick of bare land scattered with popping acacias. It speaks to the artists interest in nature’s skeleton, its syntax of movement against stillness, life and absence.

Any survey of Australian art would not be replete without Williams. He was inspired by Matisse, Cezanne and the Cubists – uniting visions of the Australian landscape with the European canon. In the trajectory of Australian Modernism, he positioned himself as a “link between Nolan and Drysdale: Nolan the irrational, Drydale the formal.”

For collectors of important landscape and modern art, ‘Acacias’ is a rare to market, museum-quality and breathtaking find. It is represented across several public collections and another impression from the same series has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia.

Fred WILLIAMS (1927 - 1982)
'Acacias' 1976 - 1978
lithograph on paper
Edition of 50
Image Size: 62 x 46 cm
Dimensions: 94 x 74 x 4 cm
Signed: Signed, titled and editioned in bottom margin
Comes with Letter of Provenance

Exhibited: Fred Williams: A Retrospective, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (touring), 7 November 1987 (another impression). Fred Williams Painter Etcher, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 7 July - 10 September 1981 (another impression).

An impression of this work is represented at the National Gallery of Victoria, accession number: 2008.457.
An impression of this work is represented at the Art Gallery of South Australia, accession number: 20172G19.
An impression of this work is represented at Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, accession number: 1983.014.004.

Condition: Very Good: Describes a work of art's image as Excellent, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear to paper or frame. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to the paint surface.

© Fred Williams / Copyright Agency 2023