An image of Archaeopteryx

Eric Thake

(Australia 08 Jun 1904 – 03 Nov 1982)


20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

A prolific printmaker, known for his ingenious linocuts, Eric Thake considered his rarer oils and watercolours of greater significance. Thake studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and later with George Bell, whose interest in formal design and abstraction through pictorial organisation, as well as the theory of dynamic symmetry, influenced the young artist.

By the late 1930s, Thake’s work revealed an awareness of the metaphysical experiments of Giorgio de Chirico and the English surrealists, Edward Wadsworth and Paul Nash. 'Archaeopteryx' is a superb example of Thake’s meticulous and witty paintings, its directness derived from his experience as a graphic artist and medical illustrator. The inspiration for 'Archaeopteryx' was a book by Willy Ley in which Australia is described as a world’s-end warehouse of nature’s experiments: the lizard-like head and feathered body of the flying machine evokes the prehistoric creature of the title.

Place of origin
East Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
oil on canvas
41.9 x 52.0 cm stretcher; 51.8 x 61.0 x 4.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated c.l., white oil "Eric Thake '41".
Purchased 1964
Accession number
© Eric Thake Estate
Art Set
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