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Christmas Card - Eric Thake, 'Gallery Director' or 'This way to Pharlap', Linocut Print, 1954 Object Reg. No: HT 23941

This linocut, one of a small number hand printed by Melbourne artist Eric Thake as his 1954 Christmas Card, is an important addition to the Museum's Phar Lap collection. It currently contains a small select group of artworks, both professional and amateur, depicting the horse. This is arguably one of the most well known artistic depictions of Phar Lap, particularly in relation to his transformation from champion racehorse to iconic museum object, and brilliantly sums up the ongoing continuing debate that has raged both inside and outside the organisation on the role of Phar Lap as serious museum object or museum icon.

Daryl Lindsay (1889-1976) was an Australian artist and art administrator, often best remebered for his years as director of the National Gallery of Victoria (1942-76) having suceeded the unpopular James S. MacDonald (1936-41). A passionate horseman himself, having been a boundary rider and station hand before the First World War, Lindsay was slow to follow his older brothers - Percy, Norman and Lionel - into an artistic career. He served in France during the First World War where his artistic talents were noted, in particular by his brother-in-law cartoonist Will Dyson, and in 1918 he was appointed an Official Medical Artist at the Sidcup Military Hospital for facial reconstructive surgery in Kent, England.

Lindsay pursued a career as an artist upon returned to Australia, being appointed as Keeper of the Prints at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1940, and shortly thereafter replaced MacDonald as director. A frequent complaint of Lindsay's during his directorship was that visitors to the National Gallery and Museum in Swanston street came not to appreciate the art, but rather to see the famed race-horse. Lindsay himself had painted, and briefly ridden, Phar Lap shortly after his famed 1930 Melbourne Cup win when the horse was stabled at Underbank Stud at Bacchus Marsh. Lindsay and his wife, Australia author Joan, lived at Bacchus Marsh during the Depression years where Lindsay got to know Sol Green, owner of Underbank.
Hand printed linocut Christmas card, hand titled, signed and dates by the artist in pencil. Image depicts the director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Daryl Lindsay (1942-55) standing in front of artworks, pointing through an archway to Phar Lap. Several people surround Phar Lap, kneeling in adoration. The image sums of a frequent complaint of Lindsay's that visitors to the National Gallery and Museum site during his directorship came not to appreciate the art, but rather to see the famed race-horse.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 203 mm (Height), 150 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Dimensions for image only - not including frame.

More information

Tagged with: horse racing, museum exhibitions, museums, artists, art, prints, printing, christmas cards, making history - phar lap
Themes this item is part of: Leisure Collection, Phar Lap Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: MUSEUM HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Exhibitions
Tertiary Classification: artworks
Artist: E. Thake, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1954
Person Depicted: Mr Daryl Lindsay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1954

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