Faces in the Crowd go to war


Donna, 22 April 2016 · # ·

Among the many residents encountered in the research for this latest exhibition – Faces in the Crowd – were some local official war artists including the Bulletin artists Henry Fullwood and Frederick Leist.

Fullwood lived in Mosman for a year in the late 19th century and Leist lived in Mosman from the 1920s.

Australian official war artists 1916-1918: standing l-r: (Sir) John Longstaff, Charles Bryant, George Lambert, A. Henry Fullwood, James Quinn, H. Septimus Power, Arthur Streeton, seated back l-r: Will Dyson, Fred Leist, front: George Bell. Painting by George Coates, 1920 (AWM ART15334)

Frederick Leist was born in Surry Hills, Sydney in 1873. On leaving school he took up an apprenticeship at David Jones Ltd as a furniture designer and in his spare time attended art classes with Julian Ashton at the Art Society of New South Wales.

He quickly obtained work as an artist on The Bulletin and the Sydney Mail. In 1908, like many other Australian artists and writers, he moved to London and worked The Graphic and other magazines. Leist found he was able to focus on his painting and was regularly hung in exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Art.

During the First World War Leist designed recruitment posters for the British War Office. In 1917 he was appointed an Official War Artist and attached to the 5th Division AIF spending time on the Western Front in 1917 and 1918.

See his war art at the Australian War Memorial.

Battle of Mont St. Quentin, Fred Leist 1918 (AGNSW)

The taking of Lone Pine, Fred Leist 1921 (AWM ART02931)

After the war Leist designed large murals for the Australian Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition and in 1926 returned to Australia where he taught at East Sydney Technical College.

Leist and his wife lived at “Clandua”, 2 Burran Avenue, Mosman until his death in 1945. Read more about Fred Leist at the Australian Dictionary of Biography.


Poster, Fred Leist 1918 (IWM Art.IWM PST 0353)


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