• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7482

    Modern and Contemporary Australian Art Including Works by New Zealand and South African Artists

    12 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 69

    Frederick Ronald Williams (1927-1982)

    Marked Grave, Erith, No. 1

    Price Realised  


    Frederick Ronald Williams (1927-1982)
    Marked Grave, Erith, No. 1
    signed 'Fred Williams.' (lower right)
    gouache and sand on paper
    21 7/8 x 30½in. (55.8 x 77.5cm.)
    Painted in 1974

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Williams visited two islands in Bass Strait early in 1974, Flinders Island in January, and Erith Island in March with the historians Ian Turner and Stephen Murray-Smith, and his friend and fellow artist Clifton Pugh. The stay on Erith Island was extended by bad weather: 'When the weather finally cleared, Williams painted some of his very finest strip gouaches outside in the shelter of the hut. The bad weather on Flinders Island had resulted in the drama of Ti-tree swamp, Flinders Island; there was no such response on Erith. The strip gouaches are clear and sunny, with beach sand glued to their surfaces as proof of the 'ochre' colour of the island. These few gouaches, and Beachscape, Erith Island polyptych, 1975-76, later painted from them, are marvels of invention and represent an extraordinary innovation in landscape painting. In these works Williams has again taken up a mapper's view of the landscape: land, beach, water's edge, shoals and sea. The colour is rich ...' (J. Mollison, A Singular Vision: The Art of Fred Williams, Melbourne, 1989, p.170)

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    William S. Lieberman (1924-2005), Curator of 20th Century Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
    Private collection, United States of America.

    Pre-Lot Text

    'FRED AT MoMA'

    'In 1975 Williams was invited to hold a one-man exhibition of gouaches at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the first Australian painter to receive such an honour. The force behind the invitation was William S. Lieberman, Director of the Department of Drawings at the Museum. Visiting Australia some years earlier, Lieberman had seen Williams's work and was struck by its freshness. Lieberman returned to Australia in 1975 with the Museum of Modern Art's travelling exhibition, Modern Masters, and made a basic selection of some forty works then. The exhibition, titled Landscapes of a Continent, opened on 11 March, 1977 and ran for two months. It was a triumph for Williams. The Museum acquired some of the gouaches as did other museums; a number of private collectors also bought works. Williams went to New York for the exhibition and made his first direct acquaintance with a city he had wanted to visit for over twenty years.' (P. McCaughey, Fred Williams 1927-1982, Kensington, 1987, pp.272-73)



    New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Fred Williams: Landscapes of a Continent, March-May 1977 (toured to Florida, Nebraska, Texas 1978-79).