An image of Waterfall polyptych

Fred Williams

(Australia, England 23 Jan 1927 – 22 Apr 1982)

Waterfall polyptych

Not on display
Further information

"My enthusiasm was fired by the von Guérard Waterfall, Strath Creek in the Sydney Gallery. It was a picture I've always admired and I made a free copy of it about fifteen years ago and had forgotten it and put it aside ... One day
I woke up and thought, well actually I wouldn't mind going around and looking at more of them."
- Fred Williams 1981

One of the most important works of Williams' entire oeuvre, 'Waterfall polyptych' uniquely demonstrates Williams' capacity for formal inventiveness through landscape.

In February 1979 he visited the Lal Lal Falls to the west of Melbourne near Ballarat, painting four successive canvases to recreate the dramatic alteration in light during the day. He then painted 'Waterfall polyptych', re-inventing the monumental dark indigo form and spectacular scale of the waterfall to evoke his subject as a miraculous element in the rocky landscape. As in other paintings from Williams' waterfall series, key influences came from Oriental art and from Cézanne's late paintings of the quarry at Bibémus.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

oil on canvas
four panels: each panel 153.0 x 122.0 cm stretcher; each panel 154.0 x 123.5 x 6.3 cm frame; 154.0 x 494.0 x 6.3 cm overall :
a - left panel, 153 x 122 cm
b - centre left panel, 153 x 122 cm
c - centre right panel, 153 x 122 cm
d - right panel, 153 x 122 cm
Signature & date

Signed l.l. right panel, black oil "Fred Williams". Not dated.

Purchased with assistance from the H.G. Slater Foundation 1980
Accession number
© Estate of Fred Williams