The James Gleeson oral history collection
James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists
Experience in the far west 1961
Painting, synthetic polymer paint on composition board
135.5 h x 184.0 w cm
22 October 1979
James Gleeson: Well, Stan, we have three major works of yours in the Australian National Gallery collection. The awesome Yorkminster is one, the other is Experience in the far west and the third one is Poseidon.
Stanislaus Rapotec: That’s correct.
James Gleeson: Now, of those which would be the earliest, The Experience in the Far West?
Stanislaus Rapotec: The earliest is Experience in the Far West and, you might be interested, it was selected by Sir Russell Drysdale. So was the next one, The awesome Yorkminster. That was from David Jones exhibition. The third one I believe was selected by the architects who were responsible for the new embassy in Washington. I believe so, I’m not too sure. By the way, Yorkminster was hanging for many years in Australian Embassy in Moscow. One of the ambassadors there told me, which really pleased me a lot, that it created quite a lot of interest by Russian artists who visited the embassy and so on.
James Gleeson: Yes. Stan, Experience in the Far West, how did that come about? Did you travel in the Far West?
Stanislaus Rapotec: Oh, that was another thing in my life which fascinated me a lot, was travelling around Australia. Further back I was more interested in the country and people, let’s call them characters–well, to me. I developed a liking for that sort of the country. I must say I used to travel quite a lot in South Australia, north up to Flinders Ranges. I know very well my outback in New South Wales. The same is with Queensland, north and west too. So I would say I have quite a few experiences there, especially so because one of my brother-in-laws was a grazier with many relatives all around the country. So I had plenty of excuses to visit those parts of the world and stay there for quite a long time. So I know very well the country itself, as I know the people too. I have many, many friends all around the country in Australia.
James Gleeson: So you’ve painted a series of pictures? 22 October 1979
Stanislaus Rapotec: I painted a series of pictures on my experiences especially in outback, yes. That trip, for instance, from Cobar via Wilcannia to Broken Hill and then to Adelaide, they were especially interesting to me, and produced yet another great impact on me.
James Gleeson: Stan, when was this picture painted? Can you remember the date? I know we bought it in ’63.
Stanislaus Rapotec: Well, they were mostly painted between sixties, early sixties.
James Gleeson: Early sixties.Stanislaus Rapotec: All of them the early sixties. The Yorkminister was painted in ’65, I believe, after my return from England of course.