Russell Clark

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1905, d.1966

Sunday Morning

  • c. 1939
  • Watercolour
  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest, 1988
  • 745 x 830mm
  • 89/122

Russell Clark revealed his skill as an illustrator and satirist in this clever bird’s eye view. Neighbours in the foreground attempt conversation above the performance of a Salvation Army brass band, whose main audience is a woman looking out beneath tangled venetian blinds and a schoolboy leaning against a lamppost. Elsewhere, a man polishes his car and a young couple exit by motorcycle. If this is Sunday, the delivery horse before the corner dairy hints to an illicit trade – sales are strictly limited to milk today, but the window offers vegetables on display. Sunday Morning connects to Clark’s Saturday Night (in Te Papa’s collection), painted in 1934 during Clark’s nine years in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

(From Here on the Ground, 18 May – 17 November 2024)

See 'Saturday Night'

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Unlike other local artists at this time, Russell Clark often painted street scenes showing people busy with their everyday lives. This type of social realism was very similar to the work produced by the Ash Can School of American painting in the 1920s and 1930s. This work dates from a time when Clark was working as a commercial artist in Wellington. It was one of several in which a high viewpoint provided a bird's eye view of the suburb and the various activities in the street below. Clark's ability to find the significant details in an everyday scene made him an excellent illustrator and contributed to the success of his lively drawings in school publications and in the New Zealand Listener.

    (Label date unknown)