Sam Fullbrook / Australia 1922–2004 / Pike’s farm at Haden 1982–87 / Oil on canvas / 163.3 x 151.2cm / Purchased 2013. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Estate of Sam Fullbrook

Sam Fullbrook
Pike’s farm at Haden 1982–1987

On Display: QAG, Gallery 12

Pike’s farm at Haden depicts the farmland owned by Sam Fullbrook around Oakey in the Darling Downs. The painting is the work of many years of the artist observing the countryside and reflecting on the layers and colours that the land revealed to him throughout the seasons.

Fullbrook approached the landscape much like a farmer, moving from patch to patch, paddock to paddock, shifting colours and tones to explore the abstract relationship between colour and shape within the landscape.

One of Australia’s most influential postwar painters, Sam Fullbrook was a highly skilled colourist and tonalist, often described as a painter’s painter. At 15, he worked as an itinerant bush labourer before enlisting and serving overseas during World War Two.

Fullbrook’s artistic career began on his return to Australia, when he attended the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in Melbourne. He regularly attended life-drawing classes, a practice he strongly advocated throughout his life.

Travelling all over Australia, and living at various times in Queensland — in Brisbane, Buderim, and the Darling Downs near Oakey — Fullbrook worked in the traditional genres of landscape, portraiture, and flower painting, recording the people and places that impressed him.

Sam Fullbrook won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1963 and 1964, and the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 1974. Despite being a great portraitist, he was never fashionable as one, because his paintings were often seen as lacking the detail expected in a realistic portrait.

Discussion Questions

1. The artist has used different colours and brush strokes to depict the landscape of his farmland. What do you think the different colours represent? Are they representative of changes through seasons?

2. What mood do you think the artist has tried to capture in this painting?


Using paint or collage, create your own work based on the view looking outside from your classroom, front door, or bedroom window. Try to use shifting patches of colour and tone to suggest the different elements of the landscape like Fullbrook has done with Pike’s Farm at Haden.