Lot 4
  • 4

William Dobell

6,000 - 8,000 AUD
18,600 AUD
bidding is closed


  • William Dobell
  • Signed and dated Bill Dobell / 45 (upper left)
  • Oil on composition board


Artlovers' Gallery, Sydney
The late Dr and Mrs D. R. Sheumack, Sydney; purchased from the above; thence by descent


Paintings & Drawings by William Dobell, John Martin & Co Ltd., Adelaide Festival of Arts, March 1960, cat. 32
William Dobell Retrospective: Paintings from 1926 to 1964, Art Gallery of New South Wales,  Sydney, 15 July - 30 August 1964, cat. 107 (bears label on reverse)
William Dobell Exhibition, Bendigo Art Gallery, 13 - 23 November 1964, cat. 8 (bears label on reverse)
The D. R. Sheumack Collection of Australian Paintings, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 1983, cat. 25


Robyn Christie and Justin Miller, The D.R. Sheumack Collection, Eighty Years of Australian Paintings, Sydney: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd., 1988, pl. 95 (illus.)
John Martin and Co. Ltd. present paintings and drawings by William Dobell, Adelaide: John Martin & Co.

Catalogue Note

The celebrated Archibald Prize - Joshua Smith case had a serious impact both on William Dobell's health and on his self-image as an artist, but it does not appear to have had any visible impact on his confident portrait painting style – in 1945-1946 he produced such classics of the genre as Chez Walter (1945, collection James O. Fairfax AO), Thelma Clune (1946, Art Gallery of New South Wales) and Prof. L. F. Giblin (circa 1945, The University of Melbourne), for the last of which the present work is a preliminary study.

The subject of this dashing character sketch was a major figure in Australian political economy in the 20th century, acclaimed for his work in the fields of federal finance, tariffs, employment and post-war reconstruction. A founding member of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Giblin was also the inaugural Ritchie Professor of Economic Research at the University of Melbourne, and served in a variety of government advisory roles, among them Commonwealth Statistician, board member of the Commonwealth Bank and member of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Finance and Economic Policy.

Dobell's lively sketch shows Prof. Giblin in old age, and much as he was remembered and described by friends and colleagues, as 'a large, sagging figure of quiet presence, the head close cropped, the cheeks high, the attire eccentric – homespun trousers and jacket, improvised tie, stout boots dubbined rather than polished ... a man sane, reposed, vastly commonsensical, wryly humorous.'1

1.  Neville Cain, 'Giblin, Lyndhurst Falkiner (1872-1951)', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (ed.) Australian dictionary of biography vol. 8 (1891-1939 Cl-Gib), Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, p. 647