Garry Shead (born 1942) Feast on Mount Pleasant, 1999

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Lot 136
Garry Shead
(born 1942)
Feast on Mount Pleasant, 1999

Sold for AU$ 59,040 (US$ 42,740) inc. premium
Garry Shead (born 1942)
Feast on Mount Pleasant, 1999
titled lower left: 'Feast on Mount Pleasant'
signed and dated lower right: 'Garry Shead 99'
oil on canvas
118.0 x 91.0cm (46 7/16 x 35 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The Lucio's Collection, Sydney

    LITERATURE
    Lucio Galletto and Timothy Fisher, The Art of Food at Lucio's, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1999, p. 94 (illus.)
    Lucio Galletto, The Art of Traditional Italian, Lantern, Sydney, 2014, p. 6 (illus.)

    Since I was a young journalist in the 1980s, I have feasted as often as possible in the sunshine of Lucio's hospitality and the ochre-walled room that felt like a courtyard somewhere between Paddington and Liguria.

    As Paddington locals for twenty-five years, my husband and I loved strolling over for a simply perfect meal. In recent months I ate mountains of green noodles with blue swimmer crab to prepare for the winter of the restaurant's closure.

    You saw more politicians and captains of industry at Lucio's than at the Yellow House artists' collective in Potts Point, set up by Martin Sharp in the 1970s. But the restaurant has in its own way been Sydney's "yellow house" for four decades, a salon for artists, a radiant backdrop for their work. Martin's Eternity poster hung below Garry Shead's Ern Malley fresco ("circa 1497/1947"), witty relics of Australian cultural history.

    There's a special intimacy to eating splendidly among artworks that could be destroyed by the fling of a wine glass. As Euan McLeod said to me recently, "Often when you're in the restaurant you're bumping a Tim Storrier." That trust earned respect and there weren't many casualties – a couple of broken ceramics, some splashes of tomato sauce, Lucio's morning-after straightening ritual.

    When Lucio commissioned fifteen artists to paint a plate for the restaurant's fifteenth anniversary in 1998, my journalist husband wrote about the collection for our newspaper. He sat next to Frank Hodgkinson (who signed his lobster plate "F Ho") at the celebratory lunch Lucio hosted for the artists.

    So began our short but warm friendship and a deeper appreciation of a fine artist. After Lucio and Sally took one of his paintings home, Frank covered the front of the bar with giant sea creatures, so they could not be removed.

    Regular diners will have their favourite pieces of art. I often found myself facing John Beard's portrait of Lucio, a benign emperor overseeing his restaurant. My husband would like to hang the full set of painted plates – now grown to thirty-five – on our wall. We'd also be happy with a smaller gem.

    I've known many of the artists, owned work by a few, and dined at Lucio's with some. We had a night with Robert Hughes, by then an éminence grise with a crook leg, but once a young artist who asked Lucio not to hang his painting. He knew he was a much better critic.

    Garry Shead was at a lunch with friends that began our long goodbye. He savoured a plate of oysters and then pulled out a pen and drew inside a shell – a Lotto win for the lucky waiter who cleared the table. Lucio's was surely the only restaurant where you could eat the art and collect the leftovers. Food, art and friendship at their very best.

    Susan Wyndham
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