Fred WILLIAMS | You Yang pond

Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
England 1951-56

You Yang pond 1963
oil on composition board
signed lower centre
116.3 (h) x 132.8 (w) cm
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Gift of Godfrey Phillips International Pty Ltd 1968
© estate of Fred Williams


In a number of the You Yangs paintings Williams introduced the motif of a small dark pond; a feature that was to be further developed just a few years later in his Water pondseries. In You Yang pond, thin vertical trunks are reflected in the small dark pond and linear aspects have given way to a more fluid flow of elements. The rich tonalities of dark and light recall Williams’s interest in a tonalist approach and his admiration for the sensuous paintings of Rembrandt.

Reflecting on his experience of the You Yangs, Williams noted: ‘There’s a muddy sort of pool which could be the start of Creation. Water, then mud, then trees: there’s so little earth they seem about to take off.’

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