Oil painting -> List of Painters -> Sir George Russell Drysdale

Sir George Russell Drysdale

Sir George Russell Drysdale


Early Days:

George Russell Drysdale was born in Bognor Regis, Sussex, England, to an Anglo-Australian pastoralist family, which settled in Melbourne, Australia in 1923. Drysdale was educated at the Gee long Grammar School. He had poor eyesight all his life, and was virtually blind in his left eye from age 17 due to a detached retina.


Drysdale worked on his uncle's state in Queensland, and as a jackaroo in Victoria. A chance encounter in 1932 with artist and critic Daryl Lindsay awakened him to the possibility of a career as an artist. Supported by a fellow artist, Drysdale studied with the modernist artist and teacher George Bell in Melbourne from 1935 to 1938. He also made several trips to Europe; during 1938-39, he attended the Grosvenor School in London and the Grande Chaumiere in Paris. By the time of his return from the third of these trips in June 1939 Drysdale was recognized within Australia as an important emerging talent, but had yet to find a personal vision. His decision to leave Melbourne for Albury and then Sydney in 1940 was instrumental in his discovery of his life-long subject matter, the Australian outback and its inhabitants.

Work done by Sir George Russell Drysdale

Equally important was the influence of fellow artist Peter Purves-Smith in guiding him towards his characteristic mature style with its use of desolate landscapes inhabited by sparse figures under ominous skies.