Scottish-born artist Ian Fairweather (1891-1974) is a giant amongst Australian painters. He is revered by fellow artists. Shaped by European modernism - post-impressionism and cubism - Fairweather was a recluse drawn to Asia. He lived in Shanghai and Peking in the 1930s, and along with his study of Chinese writing, developed a highly individual, distinctive linear style. His paintings are like other - anywhere. To Robert Hughes he was 'a deeply spiritual artist' and 'one of the very few modern artists to make a convincing bridge between Eastern calligraphic traditions and Western drawings'. Fairweather's life was as unusual as his art, a solitary life of hardship and adventure, finally devoted to art. He lived for twenty years in a hut on Bribie Island, Queensland, allowing his life to wander through his work, where it expands like a Chinese line. Fairweather is an entirely new study on the artist. Murray Bail has unearthed newly discovered writings and letters, paintings and rare photographs, and has expanded and revised his views on the artist. With 233 reproductions, most in colour, many of paintings and drawings never seen in public, Fairweather is the definitive account of the life and art of this great painter.
Murray Bail curated the 1994-95 Fairweather Retrospective for Queensland Art Gallery. He is the author of four novels, including Eucalyptus and The Pages, two collections of short stories, and has received a number of major awards, among them the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award.