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Sali Herman (1898 - 1993)

Lot 9: SALI HERMAN (1898-1993)


November 29, 2004
Melbourne, Australia

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Oil on canvas
Signed and dated 48 lower right


50 by 60 cm


Purchased from the artist by his friend Mr Lindsay Campbell, to assist when money was needed for rent; thence by descent in Mr Campbell's family


According to the first owner of the painting, Mr Lindsay Campbell, this is a depiction of the artist's own home at the time. It is spring. The blossom trees are out, the small plot of lawn is green and one of the other residents is enjoying the sunshine with her tame cockatoo and a little black dog. From 1940, Herman lived mainly at Potts Point: first in a flat at the back of number 9, Wylde Street, and, from 1944, two doors up at Ilan Court. The artist and writer Bernard Smith lived upstairs with his family and became a good friend. The subject is reminiscent of Bohemian Home, painted the following year, which shows the lively rear facade of a group house in Woolloomooloo shared by a number of Herman's other artist friends in Sydney.
As Barry Pearce has written, Sali Herman's paintings of the 1940s 'show the crystallization of the artist; confident, idiosyncratic, and one whose compass is set. From being regarded as Australia's own promising French primitive, he had become the most important iconographers of one of its great cities' who made people look at urban Sydney in a completely new light' (Sali Herman Retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. 9, 11).

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