The cart

Born Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia 1899, lived United Kingdom and Europe 1929–39, died Lake Macquarie, New South Wales 1970


William Dobell took evening and weekend classes at the Julian Ashton School, Sydney (1924–29) before winning the Society of Artists’ travelling scholarship in 1929 which enabled him to study at the Slade School in London. During the following decade he lived in London in shared accommodation with other artists, many of them Australians, travelling to Europe when possible. He visited museums to study the works of artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya and J.M.W. Turner, and began making quick sketches and studies of the street-life around him. The cart (c.1936) was produced during this period.

Dobell returned to Australia in 1939 as an accomplished and highly regarded artist. Throughout his subsequent career he won several major national awards including the Wynne Prize in 1948 and the Archibald Prize in 1943, 1948 and 1959. He was knighted in 1966.

Dobell’s work has been regularly represented in major survey exhibitions of Australian art, and is held in all major Australian public collections and many regional galleries and universities.

A remaining legacy is the annual Dobell Prize for Drawing held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and a scholarship for students at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.