17 March 1895|
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Died||2 December 1988
Hobart, Tasmania Australia
Most of Rees's works are preoccupied with depicting the effects of light and emphasis is placed on the harmony between man and nature. Rees's oeuvre is dominated by sketches and paintings, in which the most frequent subject is the built environment in the landscape.
Life and training
Rees was born in Brisbane, Queensland, the seventh of eight children of Owen Rees and his wife Angèle Burguez, who was half Mauritian, half Cornish. After formal art training at Brisbane's Central Technical College, he commenced work as a commercial artist in 1917.
Rees was engaged to sculptor Daphne Mayo, but it was broken off in 1925. He married Dulcie Metcalf in 1926. In 1927 Dulcie died in childbirth and Rees married again, in 1931, to Marjory Pollard, mother to his son Alan. Rees' wife died on 14 April 1988 and he died on 2 December of the same year.
Rees first travelled to Europe in the 1920s (to meet with his then fiancée Daphne Mayo) and made sketches, including many of Paris, which were left accidentally on a bus in London at that time. While some of his works - and indeed his betrothal to Mayo - were lost, his connection with the landscapes of town and country France and Italy was to last a lifetime. Rees visited Europe again in 1953, 1959, 1966–67 and 1973, painting and sketching on all of his journeys.
The sketchbooks are now held by the Art Gallery of NSW, comprising approximately 700 images in pencil, carbon pencil, wash, watercolour and ballpoint pen. They reveal a capacity to characterise the texture and light of landscapes in these brief media - concerns that are equally evident in his paintings throughout his career.
Rees painted right up to his death, by which time he was in his nineties. His works of the last one to two decades in particular showed a preoccupation with the spiritual dimension of the relationship with and portrayal of the landscape, and this became the focus of the final book prepared in cooperation with the author Renée Free: Lloyd Rees: the last twenty years. His late works show an abstraction of form and a focus on the source and effects of light on the landscape, such as in his work The Sunlit Tower, painted when he was 91 years old, and winner of the Jack Manton Prize for 1987 (a prize awarded by the Queensland Art Gallery). He claimed that one of the benefits of his failing eyesight in his old age was that he could look directly at the sun.
Rees's own philosophical views he expressed in the Epilogue to their book:
From quite an early age I was overwhelmed with the fact of endlessness... Planetary systems can blow up, but the universe is endless, and our little life is set in the midst of this, and everything in it has a beginning and an end... [This] gives to life a sense of mystery that is always with me.
For forty years, from 1946 to 1986, Rees taught art with Sydney University's Faculty of Architecture and in 1988 received the Sydney University Union Medal for his contributions to art and the University. In the same year he was named as one of the Australian Bicentennial Authority's Two hundred people who made Australia great.
- Art Gallery of New South Wales
- Art Gallery of Western Australia
- Darling Harbour Authority
- Parliament House, Canberra
- Australian National Gallery
- Newcastle Region Art Gallery
- Queensland Art Gallery
- Royal Australian College of Physicians
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
- University of Sydney
- University of Western Australia
- West Australian Institute of Technology
- Art Gallery of NSW, Lloyd Rees, the Sketchbooks, 2002, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/sub/rees/biography.html, retrieved July 2007
- National Library of Australia news , Volume 8, 1997
- Duyker, Edward (2008). "Lloyd Rees remembered". Sydney Alumni Magazine (Sydney University) (Autumn): 30–31.
- Renée Free and Lloyd Rees, Lloyd Rees: the last twenty years, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1990, p. 171
- Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees in Europe, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2002, p. 18
- Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees in Europe, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2002, pp 10-11
- Renée Free and Lloyd Rees, Lloyd Rees: the last twenty years, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1990, p. 166
- It's an Honour: CMG
- Commonwealth of Australia, It's an Honour: AC, 1987. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
- National Portrait Gallery, Lloyd Rees From Behind (Max Dupain, retrieved July 2007
- Edward Duyker, ‘Lloyd Rees: Artist and Teacher’, Arts: The Journal of the Sydney University Arts Association, vol. 30, 2008, pp. 34–53.
- Renée Free, Lloyd Rees, Landsdowne, Melbourne, 1972
- Renée Free and Lloyd Rees, Lloyd Rees: The Last Twenty Years, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1990
- Janet Hawley, 'Lloyd Rees: the final interview', Sydney Morning Herald - Good Weekend Magazine, 15 October 1988
- Lou Klepac, Lloyd Rees Drawings, Australian Artist Editions, Sydney, 1978
- Hendrik Kolenberg, Lloyd Rees in Europe, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2002
- National Gallery of Australia
- Lloyd Rees sketchbooks online at the Art Gallery of NSW
- Lloyd Rees at Australian Art
- Lloyd Rees: Queensland Art Gallery 1998 exhibition review by Grafico Topico's Sue Smith
- Lloyd Rees "Coming Home" Rockhampton Art Gallery exhibition 1999