100 treasures

Russell Drysdale, festival poster
Russell Drysdale, festival poster
Russell Drysdale, artwork for Festival of Perth, 1979
For over two decades at the end of the last century, one of the most visible signs of every Festival of Perth was the artist-designed poster. When Russell Drysdale was commissioned to create one for the 1980 Festival he depicted a very Australian clown, light on his feet but overweight and rambunctious, wearing harlequin trousers and nestling a crowned swan under his arm. Festival founder Professor Fred Alexander had rallied the troops 'to prevent the festival from passing under the control of little men who would prefer to play safe rather than take risks which might involve criticism and so endanger their personal prestige'. Drysdale's clown epitomised Alexander's spirit of larrikin independence.

Acrylic on canvas on cardboard, 91 x 70 cm
The University of Western Australia Art Collection, commissioned by the Festival of Perth, 1979

Caption: Ted Snell
Photo: Ron D'Raine, D'Raine Images