Fred WILLIAMS | Acrobats

Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
England 1951-56

Acrobats 1955
oil on composition board
signed lower left
106.2 (h) x 80.7 (w) cm
Private collection
© estate of Fred Williams


As a young, enthusiastic artist in London, Williams found the Music Hall performances a rich source of inspiration for his art. One of his friends in London, John Taylor, recalled:

You’d wait in a long queue and pay your two bob and then you’d run like hell up these stairs to get a good position. Williams used to go for the front of “the gods”, so that he’d get a good position for seeing the stage. He just went there with his sketch book and pen. They were just notes really to prompt his memory.

In this work painted back in his room, Williams has captured a moment in the dynamic routine of a pair of acrobats. In the wondrous yet precarious balance of the figures, he was able to suggest an implied energy within the impression of something still and held forever in time.

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