PIER, 2006

Important Australian + International Fine Art
24 April 2013


born 1936
PIER, 2006

synthetic polymer paint on linen

76.0 x 182.5 cm

signed and dated lower right: DELAFIELD COOK 06

$60,000 - 90,000

Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, Melbourne, acquired from the above in 2006


William Delafield Cook and Jonathan Delafield Cook, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney, 26 September – 21 October 2006, cat. 5 (illus. in exhibition catalogue)

Catalogue text

William Delafield Cook transforms the ordinary and everyday object into the intriguing and significant so that we see its existence from a new and illuminating perspective. Under his influence a simple rockpile or haystack becomes a metaphysical experience of light and dark that evokes archetypal structures from earlier civilisations. In the early 1970s he painted a series of cosseted gardens alongside wilderness landscapes for a solo exhibition at Redfern Gallery, London and this juxtaposition shed a new light on the correlation between nature and artifice, and man's need for the contradictory states of wildness and order. It is this tension that has consistently underpinned his painting and remains evident to this day. Another remarkable element in Cook's painting is 'stillness'. Following his 1973 Redfern exhibition, the artist wrote to his father William Delafield Cook senior commenting, 'About my paintings, the quality of serenity you mentioned is very important to me - some critic mentioned stillness, as if the world had been frozen for an instant, which is very much the quality I have tried to achieve.'Cook settled in London in 1958 when a short trip to the great metropolis turned into a permanent arrangement. It proved to be an ideal base for an artist whose practice is very much that of the painter traveller and most of his work emanates from the overseas journeys he takes, often with his wife and three children. Pier 2006 emerged from an expansive road trip the artist took with his artist son Jonathan Delafield Cook from Sydney to Melbourne. The journey took the pair from Yass, through Gundagai, Euroa, the Murray River, Mallee country and Phillip Island and produced a remarkable body of work culminating in a joint exhibition at Rex Irwin Gallery in September 2006. The painting depicts the pier at Cowes, Phillip Island, which is a popular fishing spot and is usually populated with families and amateur anglers all year round due to its protected aspect. Characteristic of his oeuvre, Cook has chosen to show the structure empty and silent, untouched by human contact and thus at its most poignant.

1. Hart, D., William Delafield Cook, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998, p. 100