The Genius of Donald Friend: Drawings from the diaries 1942–1989
National Library of Australia, $59.95 hb, 144 pp
Here we have the first intimations of the coming flowering of the Donald Friend diaries, which are to be published by the National Library with support from Morris West’s benefaction. Friendliness was not always the same as ugliness or cleanliness when he was alive. So, it is somehow comforting that two Australian artists, so different from each other in lifestyle, should after their deaths find common cause.
Not that Donald Friend is being put through any official laundromat. The reputation of the artist will hardly be fumigated now that his talents as a writer are to be laid bare. What we can expect is a rare opportunity both to read the writing and to see the art up close and personal: an autobiographical catalogue raisonné with a minimum of curatorial intervention.