An image of In the waiting room

Noel Counihan

(Australia 04 Oct 1913 – 05 Jul 1986)

In the waiting room

20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

Although he personally never experienced poverty during the Depression, Counihan lived for a year on the dole when he was twenty and depicted the life of the unemployed in an exhibition of drawings held in 1934. Co-founder of the Workers Art Club with Jack Maughan and Nutter Buzzacott, he joined the Young Communist League in 1931, and joined forces with Yosl Bergner and Vic O’Connor in forming the social realist faction of the Contemporary Art Society in 1942, fired by communist ideology and concerned with social injustice and the condition of man. In 1946 he exhibited with O’Connor and Bergner in Three Realist Artists at Myers Gallery.

'In the waiting room' 1943, painted when Counihan was recuperating from tuberculosis, reveals an affinity with the German artist Kathe Kollwitz as well as other European artists, including Honoré Daumier, Francisco Goya and Ernst Barlach.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001

oil on hardboard
62.0 x 43.5 cm board; 77.5 x 59.2 x 5.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, black oil "COUNIHAN".
Signed and dated c. verso, black oil ".../ ... NOEL COUNIHAN/ .../ 1943/ ...".

Purchased 1980
Accession number
© Estate of Noel Counihan. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney