Lloyd Frederic Rees

Australian artist Lloyd Frederic Rees (1895-1988) featured landscapes and architecture in his drawings and paintings.

Lloyd Frederic Rees was born in 1895 on the east coast of Australia in a small town named Yeronga near Brisbane in Queensland. His father, Owen Rees, was of Welsh ancestry, and his mother, Angéle Burguey, was of Mauritian and French descent.

When he was 21 years of age Rees was to visit Sydney in New South Wales for the first time, as well as Melbourne in Victoria. He worked in the Sydney studio of Smith and Julius at the invitation of Sydney Ure Smith, legendary art publisher and originator of "Art in Australia." After several years of this full-time employment, Rees visited Europe for the first time in 1923, returning to Australia the following year. He married Dulcie Metcalfe in 1926; she died in 1929. In 1931 he married Marjory Pollard.

In 1934 Rees' only child, Alan Lloyd Rees, was born, and the family moved to Northwood, a suburb of Sydney, where Rees was to spend almost 50 years, visiting Europe on several occasions in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Rees traveled to Tasmania in 1967, the first of many visits, and died there, in Hobart in December 1988.

Almost half of Lloyd Rees' life was spent drawing in different media. As a young man the earliest works were undertaken in Brisbane; then from 1917 creative drawing was cast done in many locations including Italy and Sydney, New South Wales. The focus tightened on Sydney in the 1930s, a passionate tribute to a city to which he remained devoted for the rest of his life.

During the next 20 years, until the mid-1950s, he was able to perfect a painting style that, by his own admission, was comparable to his drawing technique. Following various trips to Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, during which he drew extensively, he was able to develop these drawings into paintings subsequently completed in Australia. These later works are vigorous and brilliant, but with superb sensitivity, and all are redolent of a visionary regard and involvement with landscape and with architecture. Soft ground etchings and lithographs came later, adding as superb amalgamations to all that had been learned from the earlier drawings and the confident, muscular later paintings. The resultant totality expresses superbly a major artist's response to all that was held dear in the landscape about him.

Rees was honored by many exhibitions of his work in Australia as well as in Chicago and Paris. From 1946 to 1986 he was lecturer and instructor in art at the University of Sydney's School of Architecture. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Tasmania in 1984 and a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) the following year. During the Australian Bicentennial Rees was chosen as one of the "Two Hundred People Who Made Australia Great."


Further Reading on Lloyd Frederic Rees

The fullest account of Lloyd Rees is in the two volumes of his memoirs—The Small Treasures of a Lifetime (1969) and Peaks and Valleys (1985). A similar volume of looking back is Renee Free's Lloyd Rees—An Artist Rémembers (1987). Free published two earlier books on the artist—Lloyd Rees (1972) and Lloyd Rees—The Later Works (1983).

Additional Biography Sources

Free, Renee, Lloyd Rees, Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions, 1979.

Rees, Jancis, Lloyd Rees: a source book, Sydney, N.S.W.: Beagle Press, 1995.

Rees, Lloyd Frederic, Peaks & valleys: an autobiography, Sydney: Collins, 1985.

Rees, Lloyd Frederic, The small treasures of a lifetime: some early memories of Australian art and artists, Sydney: Collins, 1984.