'Scottish-born artist Ian Fairweather (1891-1974) is a giant amongst Australian painters and is revered by fellow artists. Shaped by European modernism - post-impressionism and cubism - Fairweather was a recluse drawn to Asia. He lived in Shanghai and Peking in the 1930s, and along with his study of Chinese writing, developed a highly individual, distinctive linear style. His paintings are like no others. To Robert Hughes, he was 'a deeply spiritual artist' and 'one of the very few modern artists to make a convincing bridge between Eastern calligraphic traditions and Western drawings'.
'Fairweather's life was as unusual as his art. It was a solitary life of hardship and adventure, Murray Bail finally devoted to art. He lived for twenty years in a hut on Bribie Island, Queensland, allowing his life to wander through his work. This is the fascinating story of a man who cared nothing for comfort or material possessions, living a hand to mouth existence. Unable to afford good quality materials, Fairweather often painted on cardboard with Dulux paint from the hardware shop.
'Fairweather is an entirely new study on this acclaimed artist. Murray Bail has unearthed newly discovered writings and letters, paintings and rare photographs, and has expanded and revised his views on the artist. With 233 reproductions, most in colour, many of paintings and drawings never seen in public, Fairweather is the definitive account of the life and art of this great painter.' (Publisher's blurb, 2009 Murdoch Books edition)