Important Australian + International Fine Art
25 November 2009

David Larwill

born 1956

oil on canvas

122.0 x 92.0 cm (each), 122.0 x 368.0 cm (overall)

signed and dated upper right: D.L. / 96

$30,000 - 50,000
Sold for $43,200 (inc. BP) in Auction 12 - 25 November 2009, Melbourne

Olsen Carr Art Dealers, Sydney
Corporate collection, Sydney


McGregor, K., David Larwill, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1997, p. 159, pl. 69 (illus.)

Catalogue text

David Larwill could aptly be described as an instinctual painter. Arising from a keenly felt desire to paint, his works convey the urgency and delight that the process inspires. As noted by John Perceval, one of Larwill's early influences, ‘the art of creation was a quintessential joy’.1

The period in which Unplugged was painted was an important one for Larwill. Regular solo exhibitions had established an enviable reputation; his works were eagerly sought after and with a dedicated following of collectors. One of the founding members of the ROAR Studios in Melbourne, his early successes included the acquisition of his paintings by the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia. Commissions from the Victorian Ministry for the Arts, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Australian Opera and the Australian Football Museum and Hall of Fame all followed. Imbued with an undeniable joie de vivre, his works from this period are an engaging combination of personal narrative and strong visual appeal.

Populated by animated figures and symbols rendered in Larwill's characteristic urban primitive manner, Unplugged 1996, represents the culmination of almost two decades of tireless endeavor. Like the diptych Spring of the same year, Larwill's paintings of this scale and energy demand a direct and spontaneous response from the viewer. Full of light and generous in spirit, the paintings from this period led to Anthony Clark in The Australian acknowledging Larwill as one of the leading artists of his generation.2

1. McGregor, K., David Larwill, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1997, p. 22
2. Clarke, A., ‘Fleeting brushes with pleasant fame’, The Australian, Sydney, 28 November 1997