Donald Friend

Donald Friend

  • Biography

    Born in 1915, Donald Friend commenced art classes under Sydney Long in 1930 and studied under Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo from 1933 until 1935.

    He spent 1936 in London at the Westminster School under Bernard Meninsky and Mark Gertler, then travelled to Nigeria, where he lived from 1938 to 1939.

    Friend returned to Australia prior to the outbreak of the Second World War and enlisted in the army in June 1942. He served as a gunner with artillery units based in Australia, and also served with a labour battalion in Queensland and briefly with Army Intelligence.

    In 1946 following his discharge Friend returned to Sydney to resume his artistic career. He was living in the artist’s boarding house Merioola which was located in Edgecliff.

    Also around this time Donald Friend and his friend and fellow artist Russell Drysdale discovered the old gold-mining towns of Sofala and Hill End near Bathurst. Together with Donald Murray, a friend from the war, Donald Friends purchased a cottage in Hill End for 75 pounds which he retained until 1957.

    In 1949-50 and 1952-53 he travelled to Italy and England, where he produced some of his most memorable drawings. On the Italian island of Ischia he met Attilio Guarracino who returned with him to Australia and became a lifelong friend.

    Ever the restless wanderer he journeyed to far north Queensland in 1954 and 1955 on painting excursions where he was beguiled by the tropics and the relaxed nature of the islander inhabitants.

    In 1957 he sailed for Colombo and it was in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where he produced some of his finest works including some marvellous figure studies.

    He returned to Australia in 1961 but within five years departed again heading this time for Bali where he would remain for thirteen years.

    In the early 1980s Friend’s health started to fail and he reluctantly returned to Australia to receive treatment.

    Settling first in Melbourne with his old friend Attillio Guaraccino and later in Sydney his condition worsened after developing diabetes and suffering a severe stroke.

    He continued making work although with his right hand (he was left-handed) and produced some astonishing works in his later years.

    Donald Friend died in Sydney in 1989, and the following year the Art Gallery of New South Wales mounted a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work.

Showing the single artwork

Donald Friend

Rolando, Firenze, 1949
53 x 56.5 cm Framed: 64 x 68 cm Pen & Ink on Paper $2,950.00