Lot 11: Angry Penguins #7 (1944)
August 28, 2016
Adelaide, AustraliaLive Auction
[Angry Penguins #7] HARRIS, Max and John REED (editors): Angry Penguins.... December 1944 [cover title].
Melbourne, Reed and Harris, 1944. Quarto, [i], 112 pages with 18 illustrations (4 portraits of contributors, including Ern Malley as a nipper; the balance are reproductions of artworks, including seven from the forthcoming CAS Exhibition). Loosely inserted is a typed 'request for review' note from the publishers, and a small slip of yellow paper with a printed note about the 'Cover Illustration. Colour reproduction of painting by unknown Australian Primitive H.D. executed by Len Etheridge'. Colour pictorial wrappers, with 'Stop Press' text printed in red on the outside rear cover; minimal light foxing; essentially a fine copy.
The first 20 or so pages are devoted to comments and letters in defence of Ern Malley. Almost as intriguingly, this section is followed by an article by Albert Tucker on 'The Unknown Australian Artist H.D.', illustrated with six of HD's artworks (with one more on the front cover). Nancy Underhill ('Sidney Nolan. A Life', 2015) discusses HD at length, and comes to the conclusion that 'I see the HD/Dearing pictures as Nolan's first foray into experimenting with Primitive painting, which is not to say he painted them all. Remember the sophisticated faux unskilling in The Kellys. Please recall that naive affectation was god-sent for Nolan as it offered a positive, up-to-date style that obscured his woeful skills at academic tonal modelling'.