The Mystery behind William Dobell’s ‘The Cypriot’

In 1940, William Dobell (1899-1970) returned to Australia after ten years in Europe. He completed The Cypriot (illustrated) that same year, a portrait of his friend Aegus Gabrielides. Was it the first major painting he produced, and what is the mystery behind the work? RELATED: The life and art of William Dobell DELVE DEEPER: The…

William Dobell: Substance and Spirit

In 1942 a visit by Daphne Mayo (1895-1982) to William Dobell’s Kings Cross studio in Sydney resulted in the acquisition of The Cypriot 1940 (illustrated) for the Queensland National Art Gallery’s Collection (now QAGOMA). Just two years after its completion Mayo had purchased Dobell’s largest and most ambitious work — the subject of many preliminary…

Margaret Olley: A muse and artistic subject for others

Margaret Olley’s friendships with artists are chronicled in their pictures of her, such as William Dobell’s 1948 Archibald Prize–winning painting, works by Russell Drysdale and Jeffrey Smart and, much later, Ben Quilty’s 2011 Archibald Prize–winning portrait. No other subject has won the Archibald twice (self-portraits by Brett Whiteley and William Robinson aside), and the 63-year…

Margaret Olley’s generous life

The influence of Margaret Olley AC (1923–2011) on the history of twentieth-century Australian art exceeds even the impressive body of work she produced during her lifetime. Now, as during her long and productive career, Olley remains widely admired for her luminous, life-affirming approach to painting, and the constancy and bravura with which she pursued her…

William Dobell, Australia 1899-1970 / The Cypriot 1940

William Dobell’s ‘The Cypriot’ shares its secrets

William Dobell (1899-1970) is an artist recognised for his portraits and for often embellishing his sitter’s appearance to draw out their most distinctive traits. The model for The Cypriot 1940 was Aegus Gabrielides, a Greek Cypriot waiter who worked in a London café frequented by Dobell and his fellow Slade School students in the 1930s. Go…