Garry Shead (born 1942) A Representation of the Poet Ern Malley. Fresco circa 1945 or 1495 restored by the artist for Lucio's, 2006

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Lot 101
Garry Shead
(born 1942)
A Representation of the Poet Ern Malley. Fresco circa 1945 or 1495 restored by the artist for Lucio's, 2006

Sold for AU$ 46,740 (US$ 32,595) inc. premium
Garry Shead (born 1942)
A Representation of the Poet Ern Malley. Fresco circa 1945 or 1495 restored by the artist for Lucio's, 2006
signed and dated lower left: 'Garry Shead 06'
titled to the frame: 'A Representation of the Poet Ern Malley. Fresco circa 1945 or 1495 restored by the artist for Lucio's'
fresco on plaster on board
82.0 x 60.0cm (32 5/16 x 23 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The Lucio's Collection, Sydney

    Closely related to Garry Shead's work of the same year, Colloquy with John Keats, this example is an extension of the celebrated cycle of works The Apotheosis of Ern Malley. Here rendered in the form of a fresco, complete with eggshell luminescence and church ceiling cracks, the work graced the walls of Lucio's where Garry Shead staged legendary 'Ern Malley' dinners.

    With his crown of laurel and simple loin cloth, our Ern Malley figure stands atop a laden dinner table, a glimpse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge out of the window. Red wine, loaves of bread and a plate of snapper all grace the table, all highly symbolic motifs with their roots firmly embedded in the language of the medieval frescoes which decorate the walls and ceilings of early churches. The cast of characters who surround our figure are all drawn from the Ern Malley hoax; James McAuley and Harold Stewart in military dress reach up to restrain their creation and our protagonist.

    The layers of medium and meaning are further compounded by the artist's title which he has incised into the gilt frame: A Representation of the Poet Ern Malley. Fresco circa 1945 or 1495 restored by the artist for Lucio's. Is it 1495, the late medieval period when frescos reach the peak of their popularity as a medium; or 1945, the year of Ern Malley's supposed untimely passing? Only Lucio could tell us.

    Merryn Schriever
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