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Fred Williams

River Yarra, Abbotsford 111, 1974

Price: $300,000

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Catalogue number: 22

oil on canvas

106.80 x 91.50

unsigned

Provenance: The Estate of Fred Williams

Literature & references: Patrick McCaughey, Fred Williams, Murdoch Books, Sydney, 2008, see p 251 for Yarra at Kew, 1974, a closely related work of the same size and format, depicting the steep, eastern bank of the river at Yarra Bend, with the twin towers of the Willsmere Asylum in Kew on the horizon. This painting retains the tripartite horizontal division of the picture plane characteristic of many of the previous Lysterfield landscapes (foreground, hillside, sky). By contrast, River Yarra Abbotsford offers a variant viewpoint with the river flowing diagonally across the lower third of the painting. The artist’s diary entry for 13th March 1974 records ‘painted at Abbotsford’ on a ‘dry and windy’ day and includes a photo of the site. One of the several works depicting the Yarra on the short reach between Dights Falls and the Carlton Brewery, these Yarra River paintings came at an important point in his career. “The new expressiveness manifested itself in surprising ways, none more so than the Yarra River subjects, to which Williams returned with renewed concentrations. He drew as well as orchestrated the motif in the new palette and this gave the landscape an electric charge. The motifs, too, were fascinating for him; the smooth liquidity of the river and the contrasting texture and colour of its banks were familiar. To these he added the contrast of the bush at Kew or Studley Park juxtaposed with the city skyline and the industrial landscape of Collingwood and Abbotsford… He greatly enjoyed painting at these sites, close to his home, which made the weekly expeditions to outside locations less arduous and worrisome. He felt completely at home in them, they were a strange combination of the familiar and the nostalgic. (As a boy, he had gone regularly to football matches in Collingwood.) That accounts, perhaps, for the extraordinary explicitness with which he describes the sites, the buildings and the landscape in general. Williams was remembering and rediscovering a once familiar landscape.” McCaughey, op. cit. p 251

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Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.