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Explorers on river bank c 1920s

By John Samuel Watkins

This work illustrates the interest Watkins had in depicting the human form. Here are nine men, presumably explorers in an Australian bush setting. These figures are arranged in various positions, gathered beside an unknown riverbank. Four of the men wear ragged clothes and no boots, in a state of exhaustion. Presumably they have been rescued by the main group of explorers.

A study of Australian masculinity, it celebrates attributes such as physical strength, displayed in the muscular poses and stature of the figures, an earthy, independent character and egalitarianism. The men are depicted as capable, but also laid-back and imbued with a sense of mateship.

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Collection Item Type:
Oil on canvas
Call Number:
ML 1485
Published date:
c 1920s
On display:
Exhibition Galleries
Copyright Information:

Out of copyright: Artist died before 1955

Please acknowledge: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Display Location:
Exhibition Galleries
Historical Dates
Started Monday, 1 January 1900
Finished Friday, 31 December 1909
Started Monday, 1 January 1900
Finished Friday, 31 December 1909