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Artist: Steve Parkhill

  • Title: Self Portrait as Hurtle Duffield
  • Year: 2014
  • Medium: oil & enamel on canvas
  • Dimensions: 160 x 122 cm
  • Further Information:
    In his novel The Vivisector, Patrick White’s central character is Hurtle Duffield; a painter who ‘is incapable of loving anything except what he paints’. Whilst the Nobel Prize winning writer dedicates the book to his friends, Sidney and Cynthia Nolan, it has been theorized that Duffield is loosely based on many painters including Francis Bacon and Roy De Maistre; and even the artistic journey of White himself.

    • In his autobiography, White says of Bacon: He daydreamed, he said. "Pictures drop in like slides. The way I see them is not necessarily related to the way I paint them."
    • Michael Peppiatt in his book, Francis Bacon in the 1950’s says:’ Bacon saw images falling into his mind “like slides into a projector.” The studio was therefore a kind of messy slide show of the mind, a necessary part of the creative process for Francis Bacon.’
    • White writes this of Duffield in the Vivisector: ‘endlessly changing coloured slides in his magic-lantern of a mind, the body had become an instrument, the crude, blurred slides were focusing into what might be called a vision.’

    In my reading of the novel, I saw Duffield as being consumed by paint, sometimes to the detriment of others. At times I have questioned this of myself.
Self Portrait as Hurtle Duffield