UPWEY I, 1965

Twenty Classics of Australian Art
11 November 2020


(1927 – 1982)
UPWEY I, 1965

gouache on paper

52.0 x 70.0 cm

signed lower right: Fred Williams

$50,000 – 70,000
Sold for $116,591 (inc. BP) in Auction 62 - 11 November 2020, Melbourne

Estate of the artist
Lyn Williams, Melbourne
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, Sydney
Deutscher~Menzies, Sydney, 14 June 2006, lot 5
Private collection, Brisbane


Fred Williams (1927 – 1982), Marlborough Fine Art, London, 1 November – 2 December 1995, cat. 18
Fred Williams (1927 – 1982) Landscapes – Paintings, Gouaches & Etchings, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney, 6 – 31 October 1998, cat. 6

Catalogue text

Upwey I, 1965 comes from a period of outstanding creativity, which included such masterpieces as Upwey Landscape I, 1965, formerly in the collection of British Petroleum, London; Upwey Landscape II, 1965, in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Upwey Landscape III in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Upwey Landscape V, 1965, now in the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Victoria through the bequest of Blair Ritchie. Hailed as being ‘at his best’ in his solo show at Rudy Komon’s gallery in September 1966, Wallace Thornton in The Sydney Morning Herald presciently observed: ‘There is every chance he will go down in history as Australia’s greatest landscape artist’.1 Consisting of twelve oils and the same number of supporting gouaches, together with some etchings, the exhibition was packed with treasures. They included both oils and gouaches from the Waterpond in Landscape series, Green Cloud and Owl, 1966, formerly in the Mertz Collection, USA, and Red Landscape, 1966. Of the latter, Patrick McCaughey commented perceptively: ‘The quality of the gouache for Red Landscape, possibly finer than the oil painting itself, suggests Williams was looking for a painting that would come out at a single shot, not something to be laboured over’.2 Williams often exhibited gouaches with his oil paintings, their importance in his oeuvre continuing to be recognised in later major shows including the National Gallery of Australia’s 2011 retrospective, Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons.

1. Thornton, W.,'Is this our greatest landscape painter?' Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 12 October 1966, p. 22
2. McCaughey, P., Fred Williams, Murdoch Books, Sydney, 1996, p. 176