Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ARTISTS IN LOVE, part four

Last year I described the life of Ivor Hele, the great Australian war illustrator. Hele painted front line combat in Africa, the Middle East, Korea and the South Pacific during World War II and the Korean War. In the jungles of New Guinea he was injured and lay unconscious for two days.

After a career filled with death and carnage, Hele withdrew from the world. He and his wife lived a life of isolation in a remote cottage by the ocean. Hele rarely spoke about what he had witnessed. He avoided the public and refused to have his picture taken. The local newspaper noted upon his death that "very few people have ever been inside their home." One young niece who visited the cottage recalled "Ivor really detested children."

But Hele never stopped drawing. Instead of drawing armies clashing on a battlefield, he began drawing intimate pictures of his wife around the house. He drew her putting on her stockings, he drew her sewing, he drew her wearing a funny hat made from a folded newspaper, he drew her reading a book. Mostly he seemed to like drawing her with her skirts raised and-- bless her-- she indulged him.

The local newspaper noted that "it was not until after his death... that it was realized he had kept so many sketches." The following drawings are from that collection. They have never been published, but deserve an audience:

Drawing his wife in the safety and seclusion of their little cottage seemed to be therapeutic for Hele's scorched soul.

These are marvelous figure studies but they are more. By lingering over the design of the human form, the symmetry and harmony of the limbs, the tenderness of human flesh, Hele may have been able to restore a little of nature's balance to his own life.


Blogger Goldpimp said...

Nice Kiester Sister.

7/27/2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous felix said...

plus they are really hot!

7/27/2006 4:29 PM  
Blogger anendorf said...

Oh man, what a magnificent blog you have¡ From now on its one of my favorites¡ Great histories, great text, what more can i say? And this Hele, just to think about all the horrors he saw, no wonder why he isolated himself to draw his wife. Beautiful drawings, splendid line, by the way. From Tanatos to Eros. Well, congratulations again¡ (and sorry for my english).

7/27/2006 7:10 PM  
Blogger Steve Simpson said...

Very nice. His wife must have really loved him.

Never heard of him before but will look him up war years.


7/28/2006 2:54 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Welcome, anendorf. Don't worry about the English; around here we all struggle to find words that can keep up with the pictures and none of us has been able to do it.

Glad to have you.

7/28/2006 4:57 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Steve, you sound like a man who has tried to persuade his wife to pose for him.

7/28/2006 4:58 AM  
Blogger SpaceJack said...

Wow this blog is great! You can count another fan. So many archives to read yet too. I feel pretty lucky to have found this. (I followed a Drawn.ca link.)

7/30/2006 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're developing quite a following! -cp

7/30/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger harshvardhan kadam said...

lovely, and sensual blog u hv...its a fav blog now!

great collection!

7/31/2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Thanks spacejack, anonymous and inkbrushnme-- there are a thousand great stories and a million great pictures out there waiting-- I appreciate your stopping by, and I look forward to hearing from and learning from all of you along the way!

7/31/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger Painter X said...

The really nice thing about these drawings is that they are so spontaneous-they don't look labored-over at all (you know, the art school head-measuring drawings a lot of us did). It's also amazing to see the line work in most of these things-not the smudging/adjusting back and forth process. These touches bespeak of a phenomenal draftsman. I never heard of Hele until I saw your blog. Much appreciated!

7/31/2006 6:23 PM  

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