Works from the Donald Friend Collection
27 October 2013


(1915 - 1989)

ink and wash on paper

15.0 x 12.5 cm

signed, dated and inscribed vertically upper right to lower right: To Connie. / Donald Friend. / September / 1937.
inscribed on label verso: SELF PORTRAIT 1937 / DONALD FRIEND

$6,000 - 9,000
Sold for $15,600 (inc. BP) in Auction 31 - 27 October 2013, Sydney

Donald Friend Retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 9 February – 25 March 1990; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 14 April – 6 June 1990; and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 26 June – 19 August 1990 (label attached verso)


Pearce, B., Donald Friend, 1915–1989: Retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1990, cat. 1, p. 30 (illus.)

Catalogue text

Surviving works from Friend's early period in England are rare. This may be due to the fact that he found London on the whole an uninspiring city; 'foully cold' with tiny rooms in which he would sit with little money and a sinking heart. However he did eventually meet a crowd of artists and musicians at Mme Beulah's cafe in Fitzroy Street [Fitzrovia] and developed the kind of bonhomie that would become typical of his artistic life in Sydney. The inscription on this drawing probably refers to one of his associates of this time in London, before he departed for Africa in the following year. He described himself in a letter to his mother from London, dated December 13th (1936): 'My figure is much the same "slim and what-not" my hair is long and my eyes are wild like a poet's. My mouth still express[es] the insatiably erotic desire for insatiability, and my brows have lost none of their fine curve.'1

1. Pearce, B., Donald Friend, 1915-1989: Retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1990, p. 30