Barber's shop in a forward area

Place Oceania: New Guinea
Accession Number ART29337
Collection type Art
Measurement unframed: 54.6 cm x 41.1 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on cardboard
Maker Pidgeon, William Edwin (WEP)
Place made New Guinea
Date made 1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Depicts an unidentified group of 'off duty' soldiers, one having his hair cut by another, one reading, other soldiers watching barber. This painting was reproduced as the cover of the 'Australian Woman's Weekly' 29 July 1944. Of this work Wep commented; ' He's a hell of a little ex-ladies' hairdresser from Farmers or , some say , Borrowmans - anyway he cuts a pretty hair. The charge is 1/- of which he gets 6d and his unit comforts fund 6d. You sit on a sawn off log in a parlour of the most delicate hessian'. William Edwin Pidgeon (1909-1981) was a painter, cartoonist, illustrator and newspaper critic. Working with Consolidated Press, he was appointed a war correspondant and artist in 1943. He became renowned for his cartoons signed with his initials, 'WEP'. During the Second World War many of his illustrations were published in the 'Australian Women's Weekly' and on the cover of the magazine. His humourous works conveyed the lives, personalities and conditions under which Australian troops served in Darwin, New Guinea and Borneo. During the Second World War he also contributed cartoons to the Army periodical, SALT. After the war he continued to provide illustrations for books during the 1950s, but mainly concentrated on portrait painting. He won the Archibald Prize in 1958, 1961 and again in 1968 for a portrait of fellow artist Lloyd Rees. From 1974-79 he served as the art critic for the 'Sunday Telegraph' newspaper.