Lloyd Rees / Australia 1895–1988 / The Quarry 1918 / Pen / 19.5 x 23.5cm / Gift of John Batten through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2016. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Lloyd Rees/ Licensed by Copyright Agency

Lloyd Rees
The Quarry 1918

Not Currently on Display

Lloyd Rees completed The Quarry 1918 at the age of 23, a year after he moved to Sydney to work as a commercial artist. Full of energy and confidence, the pen drawing demonstrates the young artist’s engagement with his subject. Rees was an early and eager observer of the natural world, with a keen eye for the effects of light. In this work, we see his ability to capture the detail of a sunlit quarry wall with a solitary house at its base. Rees adds interest and scale in the foreground by including a man and child who appear to be heading towards the dwelling.

Lloyd Rees was born in Brisbane on 17 March 1895. He studied at the Central Technical College and was well known for his sketches of Brisbane. Rees moved to Sydney in 1917 to work for Sydney Ure Smith at the Smith and Julius Studio, one of Australia’s earliest advertising agencies to use artworks and colour printing in their campaigns.

Ure Smith commissioned Rees to draw the architecture and landscapes of Sydney. Throughout his career, Rees documented his observations of Brisbane buildings, streets and landscapes, and his fascination with the effect of light on his subjects.

In his later years, Rees’s works became more abstract as he began to focus specifically on the sources and effects of light. Despite his rapidly failing eyesight, Rees continued to paint, claiming that a benefit of his failing sight was that he was able to look directly at the sun.