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Russell Drysdale and Peter Sculthorpe, Tallow Beach, New South Wales
, 1969 (printed 2000)

by David Moore

gelatin silver photograph

Over the 1940s and 50s Russell Drysdale AC (1912-1981) produced a series of stark, foreboding paintings of the landscapes, towns and people of outback and rural Australia, amongst which are many of the best-known images in Australian art. In 1963 he and his friend, composer Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE (1929-2014), took a working holiday in Tasmania. Out of this trip emerged Sculthorpe’s best-known piece, ‘Small Town’, inspired in part by Drysdale’s paintings of towns and dedicated to the painter. In 2014, after the composer’s death, an American writer for the New Yorker described visiting Victoria for the first time, and finding that Sculthorpe’s pizzicato and percussive effects ‘perfectly evoked the landscape . . . its vernacular architecture, beautiful stands of eucalyptus, red hills, dry grass, and sudden screaming flocks of lorikeets’. The composer once said that like the painter, he had come to look on his ‘whole output as one slowly emerging work’. At Tallow Beach on the central coast of NSW, close to Drysdale’s property at Bouddi, David Moore photographed two men who profoundly influenced Australians’ way of imagining their own place, creating, as he did so, one of the great Australian portraits-in-the-landscape.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
The series David Moore: From Face to Face was acquired by gift of the artist and financial assistance from Timothy Fairfax AC and L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2001
Accession number: 2001.140