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THE STEPEHN SCHEDING COLLECTION
Frank Weitzel was known mainly as a sculptor but in his studio over
Grubb's butcher shop at Circular Quay, he worked in the tradition of
the artist-craftsman, producing linocut batik shawls and
wall-hangings, lamp shades, book-ends etc. He also played violin in the Conservatorium Orchestra and designed a modern room (with Henry Pynor) at the Burdekin House Exhibition in 1929.
In 1931, looking for work in London he sought out David Garnett, a
publisher and member of the Bloomsbury Group of artist-craftsman. While Garnett was not interested in Weitzel's drawings for publication, he
became an admirer of his sculpture and invited Weitzel to care-take his property 'Hilton Hall' and commissioned him to do heads of children.
Weitzel came to be praised also by Jacob Epstein, Roger Fry, Paul Nash and Duncan Grant.
Garnett describes Weitzel in his autobiography as "small, thin, with frizzy hair which stood piled up on his head, blue-eyed, with a beaky nose. I guessed he was not eating enough.....He was proletarian, rather helpless, very eager about art and also about communism". At around this time Weitzel wrote to Colin Simpson back in Australia, "Now I am working on a show of my own which is being arranged for me by some terrific money bags". The exhibition was never held. Weitzel contracted tetanus apparently from minerals which got under his finger nails while digging for clay for his sculptures. He died on the 22 Februrary 1932 at the age of 26.
A posthumous exhibition was organised by Dorrit Black at the Modern Art Centre, 56 Margaret Street, Sydney, on the 7 June 1933- opened by another supporter of modernism, the artist John D. Moore. The works had been brought back to Sydney by Weitzel's sister Mary, who had travelled to England to collect them. This small show (41 works) included illustrations to a poem by Weitzel, poster designs for the Empire Marketing Board, Underground Railways, Shell Motor Spirit, Barclay's Lager and the Predential Insurance Company, as well as sculpture, drawings and linocuts which had been exhibited with Grosvenor School artists in London.