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Fuehrer (90.5 x 61 cm)

The artist’s father had an interest in war history, and as a teenager, the artist loved drawing war pictures and military uniforms. So it is not at all surprising that he painted the Adolf series.

This painting Fuehrer seems unfinished. However, the artist was familiar with the works of Australian painter, Max Meldrum, and by painting Fuehrer it may have been an attempt at simulating Meldrum’s Portrait of the artist’s mother (c. 1912). Meldrum’s theory was that ‘all irrelevant matter should be completely suppressed, and only those features that matter should be shown on the canvas.’ Interestingly, the thought of suppression suits the theme of this painting.

Here, Adolf’s mesmerising blue eyes, his little moustache, hair that fell sideways over his forehead, long nose, almost non-existent lips, his complexion that matched his character, and the swastika in the lower left hand corner of the painting, is all that mattered to this artist. So these elements are what the artist painted, on this very dark canvas.

In composing this painting, the artist used the Golden Rule (8:5), a mathematical ratio commonly found in nature. He placed the Fuehrer’s face on the canvas horizontally according to this rule, and similarly, he used the same rule to place the subject’s eyes vertically.

The artist chose to exaggerate facial features in most of his paintings. Instead of following rules of proportion, he elongated the face and enlarged facial features, such as the nose and eyes. He shortened the natural distance between the eyes, and commonly used red and blue violet colours in his paintings. (See The Last Night, Last Walk in Chancellery Garden, and other paintings in this series for discussion on the use of colour, their meanings and other details.)

This is a very unusual painting.

Acrylic on Masonite, early work. (Cleaned and framed.)

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