The Sundowner


The Sundowner 51cm x 61cm Oil on Board by D’Arcy Doyle

Norman Rockwell was one of the very few artists who influenced d’Arcy Doyle. Doyle admired his paintings of his old men, depicting early pioneers of America, called “Western Art”. When d’Arcy returned to Australia these works so impressed him that he produced a series of works that depicted early Australian Swaggies, adapted from Rockwell’s art. This is one of those classic images. A swagman resting on his bike miles from anywhere with his 3 dogs, two sitting next to him on the bike and showing affection and sympathy whilst his third dog looks up saying what are we stopping for. The Swaggie has a slightly eccentric appearance because of his coat, holy shoes, and with his swag and billy strapped beside him which is familiar swagman gear. Set in outback Queensland during the 1930’s the depression years when men who were out of work travelled by whatever means they could look for work. A Swaggie is an is an old Australian and New Zealand term describing an underclass of transient temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag (bedroll). Also characteristic of swagman attire was a hat strung with corks to ward off flies.

Doyle’s paintings of Australia’s “Golden Age” evoke nostalgic memories in all of us. d’Arcy’s art accurately depicts a childlike innocence of life of the late 1930’s and a more leisurely, less complex era of earlier times, which is now part of our national history. d’Arcy Doyle was born in 1932. He was the youngest of nine children. He grew up in Ipswich, a South Western Queensland city. At the age of just 13 d’Arcy left school and became an apprentice sign writer. d’Arcy Doyle is one of Australia’s most popular artists. It is estimated that 1 in 4 households in Australia has a Doyle print or reproduction from one of his originals. It is through the reproduction of his work that has caused his originals to sell at higher and higher prices. In 2001 d’Arcy died leaving a wonderful legacy of art. Born 19/11/1932

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