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The Pastoral Pursuits of Australia Theme: At Ease

Artist: Napier WALLER
Birth/Death: 1893–1972

Title: The Pastoral Pursuits of Australia

Credit Line: Gift of the James & Diana Ramsay Fund 1987. Collection: Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Napier Waller’s neoclassical murals were originally commissioned for the Menzies Hotel, Melbourne (now demolished). They portray Australia as the reincarnation of classical Greece, complete with heroic youths and ruined temples. The rather incongruous inclusion of the Airedale refers to the favourite breed of dog of the artist and his wife. Waller was a war hero of the First World War, who lost his right arm on the Western Front. He taught himself to paint and draw with his left hand, achieving miracles of precise draftsmanship in the form of prints, murals and designs for large-scale projects in stained glass and mosaic.

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