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The drover's wife Theme: The Land

Artist: Russell DRYSDALE
Birth/Death: 1912–1981

Title: The drover's wife

Credit Line: A gift to the people of Australia by Mr and Mrs Benno Schmidt of New York and Esperance, Western Australia through the American Friends of the Australian National Gallery 1987.

The monumental figure of The drover’s wifewith her tiny head and huge feet, stands solidly on the left of the painting, balanced visually by the small, dark figure in the background.

The sky and land are united by colour and the mood is oppressive despite the vast space suggested. Where is she going? Is she returning? Russell Drysdale gives no answers. He presents instead an iconic image of female stoicism within a desolate Australian landscape.

Russell Drysdale was one of the first white artists to visit and paint the desert. He recognised the power of a flat and featureless plane to capture the uniqueness of the Australian landscape.

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