Art Nomad
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Hugh David SAWREY C.B.E. (b.1919; d.1999)

It is often said a real test of an artist is the ability to paint horses. Hugh Sawrey, a figurative impressionist painter, was arguably one of the world’s best painters of the horse. 

Further, his horses are real horses - work horses, not show ponies, painted from his great love for them after living and working as a stockman and artist in the outback. 

Such was his devotion that in 1974 Sawrey was the founder and driving force behind the creation of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame at Longreach, Queensland - a memorial to the explorers, overlanders, pioneers and settlers of remote Australia, many of whom were so dependent on the horse. 

Hugh Sawrey was born in Forest Glen, Queensland, in 1919.  He had no formal art training, but after a day of droving cattle, painted at night around the camp fire. 

He painted the Australian bush to show the townsfolk what went on beyond the big city lights. His very personal landscapes depict the character and characters of regional Australia, often examining the spirit of mateship with great honesty. 

He once said: “In my paintings and drawings I have tried to be honest and factual above all things, because Australia is an honest land.”

On return from active service in World War 2, Sawrey focused increasingly on his art, travelling the outback and recording what he saw and felt, exhibiting successfully in the USA, England and Japan. 

He lived for most of his life in central and western Queensland, but moved to a Victorian property in 1978. He was awarded a CBE in 1989 for his services to art and died in 1999, much appreciated for his representations of outback life.


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