An image of Figure with scales

Joy Hester

(Australia 21 Aug 1920 – 04 Dec 1960)

Figure with scales

Other titles:
Figure with Scale
Not on display
Further information

Joy Hester's incisive and forcefully rendered drawings are unique among the circle of artists associated with Melbourne patrons John and Sunday Reed, including Albert Tucker, to whom she was briefly married. After her diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease in 1947, Hester left Tucker and their young son, for a new life with the artist and poet Gray Smith.

The subject of Hester's 'Figure with scales' arose from a period spent in the rural area of Avonsleigh outside Melbourne where she and Smith eked out a living on the land, growing crops and keeping chickens for a time. After a spell of warm weather, and without refrigeration, the newly slaughtered birds began to decay, the scheme ending in disaster. 'Figure with scales' conveys a surreal, dream-like strangeness that charges a simple, everyday subject with poetic and emotional force and epitomises the extraordinary expressive power and psychological insight that is characteristic of Hester's drawings.

Drawing, Watercolour
brush and ink, watercolour, gouache on paper on cardboard
57.9 x 46.2 cm sheet
Signature & date

Signed and dated c., pencil "Joy Hester '57".

John Gillespie Bequest Fund 2013
Accession number
© Joy Hester. Licensed by Copyright Agency