DRYSDALE, Russell; Man feeding his dogs
Russell Drysdale's painting Man feeding his dogs 1941 endures as a quintessential vision of outback life. The elongated, emaciated figures present a stark image based on the artist's own experiences.
Drysdale had intimate knowledge of the bush, having worked for several years as a jackeroo, and managing his father's property on the Riverina in Victoria.
The artist based Man feeding his dogs on characters and situations he recalled from his past, reconstructing the scene in his studio in Vaucluse, Sydney. By intensifying his memories, he created a desolate image of a landscape devoid of water and shelter.
This painting is recognised as Drysdale's first representation of the isolation, hostility and harshness of life in rural Australia. Though the painting is marked by a sense of desperation, the tenacious characters depicted go about their daily lives despite the challenges that confront them.