Herbert Badham (1899-1961) South Head, 1935

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Lot 4
Herbert Badham
(1899-1961)
South Head, 1935

Sold for AU$ 147,600 (US$ 103,981) inc. premium

Important Australian Art

25 Nov 2020, 18:00 EST

Sydney

Herbert Badham (1899-1961)
South Head, 1935
signed and dated lower left: 'HBADHAM 35'
oil on cardboard
51.0 x 41.0cm (20 1/16 x 16 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The Estate of the Artist, Sydney
    thence by descent
    Private collection, Victoria

    EXHIBITED
    Herbert Badham 1899 - 1961, Wollongong City Gallery, New South Wales, 27 August - 4 October 1987, then touring, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 10 October - 15 November 1987, cat. 14

    Born in the fishing cove of Watson's Bay the year the world clocked over into the new century, Herbert Badham seemed destined to paint the life and times of Sydney, leaving a scarce but important legacy of intimate and highly illuminating views of what life was like during those flourishing interwar years. An upholder of sound draftsmanship, along with a thorough working knowledge of perspective, Badham belongs to that generation of painters (among them Dobell, Dundas and Crowley) who studied at the Sydney Art School under Julian Ashton.

    'Throughout his long painting career Badham concentrated on certain themes: views of Sydney and its harbour, the daily activities of people who lived there, studies of individuals he knew well. Apart from a flirtation with abstraction in the 1950s, his subject is always the everyday. Its expressions seems safe, within the conversation of the English realist tradition. Badham manages to reach far beyond such confines, however, to observe and comment upon society of his own place and time'.1

    At the time he painted South Head, Badham was living in Crescent Avenue, Vaucluse, a location which featured in earlier works such as On The Roof, 1928, which, as the title suggests was set atop his residence, Ard-Na-Lee. Showcasing the lifestyles of the 1920s, On the Roof portrays his wife Enid enjoying afternoon tea amongst friends. The present work which was quite possibly painted from the same vantage point, is void of figures yet ambitious in perspective, a trait which had always challenged Badham. Here he raises the viewer as if floating in mid-air peering down over a picturesque urban-scape of a location dear to his heart: Watsons Bay and the South Heads beyond.

    Alex Clark

    1. Christine Dixon and Christine France, Herbert Badham 1899 - 1961, Wollongong City Gallery, New South Wales, 1987, p. 4
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