Drafting Sheep is a collection display that celebrates the work of Lionel Lindsay. Born into an artistic family in Creswick, Victoria, Lindsay (1874-1961) was, without doubt, one of Australia’s great black and white artists – as a printmaker his achievements remain arguably unrivalled in Australian art of this era.
Almost 50 years ago, Lindsay’s niece Felicity Shaw generously gifted the work Pheasanox Magnolius by her famous uncle to the then newly established Ararat Gallery. Shortly after, Lindsay’s son Peter gifted a further number of his father’s prints including the iconic Drafting Sheep, effectively establishing the Gallery’s Permanent Collection.
Drafting Sheep sits within a rarer series of Lindsay’s nostalgic Australian bush scenes from 1946-50. Lindsay was a lifelong and vocal opponent of modernism, however, by the late 1940s, his generation of traditionalists had been usurped by an ascendant generation of young modern artists.
Lindsay weathered these profound changes in Australia’s cultural landscape with difficulty, but today we can view the nostalgic realism of these three prints with hindsight and appreciate Lindsay’s unyielding commitment to his art, as revealed through his late-career mastery of the complex mezzotint process.