Not titled [painting of a handmade ashtray]

Accession Number ART94395
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 15.3 x 10 cm; image: 15.3 x 10 cm (irregular)
Object type Painting
Physical description oil paint on canvas board
Maker Fort, Sidney James
Fort, Sidney James
Mahony, Will
Fort, Sidney James
Date made c1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


Handmade ashtray made from the base of a shell, a halved bullet case and a model aircraft. The ashtray is an example of trench art which were handicrafts made by soldiers.

Sidney Fort enlisted with the army during the Second World War in 1941. Serving mostly in New Guinea and Indonesia, he also spent some time on the home front in Darwin. Like many Australian soldiers, Fort's deployment overseas was his first experience outside of the country. Introduced to new cultures and environments, he recorded his encounters through a series of paintings and drawings. He donated this body of soldier art to the Memorial in 2002.

Trained as a commercial artist at the Joe Holloway Art School in Sydney, Fort had a keen interest in fine art prior to enlisting in the army. Although he worked predominantly in watercolours he also created small oil painting and demonstrated significant mastery in both mediums. He saw a European impressionist exhibition that travelled through Australia in the late 1930s and the influences can been seen in his technical approach to many of his paintings. In later works he began experimenting with other styles including abstract expressionism and surrealism.

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