ROLAND WAKELIN - WORKS FROM THE ESTATE OF MISS ROSEMARIE COCKAYNE, LONDON (LOTS 41-46) ... no sooner did I see a Cezanne - O God, when I saw the works of all these men I trembled with emotion, my brain was set on fire & I prayed fervently for God to restore my lost soul. Roland Wakelin, 'sayings & writings' (manuscript included in lot 42) In 1918 Wakelin was at the spearhead of the modernist movement in Australian painting. Working closely with Roy de Maistre, the two eschewed the post impressionism developed in Rubbo's classes with Cossington Smith and moved towards abstraction in their pursuit of 'Colour Music'. By 1919 they had produced the first abstract paintings in Australia, exhibiting eleven 'Synchronomies' at Gayfield Shaw's Art Salon in Sydney, of which only de Maistre's Rhythmic Composition in Yellow Green Minor now survives. In 1920-21 the Melbourne tonalist Max Meldrum visited Sydney and influenced Wakelin's painting for a short period, taking his work in an opposite direction. In 1922 Wakelin sailed for England where he enjoyed his first thrilling encounter with the moderns, Monet, Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin and Van Gogh, in London and Paris, the encounters rekindling his attachment to Cezanne and modernism. He exhibited his European work from the previous two years at Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, in April 1925, and showed six paintings with A Group of Modern Painters at the Grosvenor Galleries in 1926 (the exhibitors subsequently called The Contemporary Group). The following lots reveal the mix of his influences in the mid-1920s, Wakelin returned to Australia in October 1924, so the first picture, The Wet Road, dated 1924, may be an English or French subject. Meldrum's tonalism lingers in one of the small still lifes in lot 46, Peonies (perhaps an earlier work), in Painting Class (lot 43) and in The Wet Road (lot 41), whereas Cezanne's influence is clear in the build up of forms and structure in his post-Europe Sydney suburban scenes of 1925 and 1926, his boards (lots 44 and 45) reminiscent too of the work of his fellow student at Rubbo's, Grace Cossington Smith.