SON OF MARS, c.1962

Important Fine Art + Aboriginal Art
2 December 2015


(1916 – 1981)
SON OF MARS, c.1962

oil and beeswax emulsion on gauze on composition board

56.5 x 42.5 cm

signed lower right: G Grey Smith

$10,000 – 15,000
Sold for $42,700 (inc. BP) in Auction 41 - 2 December 2015, Sydney

Sam Ure Smith, Sydney, a gift from the artist
Thence by descent
Sydney Ure Smith, Sydney
Thence by descent
Ure Smith collection, Sydney


MacCallum, M., Son of Mars, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1963, (illus. front cover)
Gaynor, A., Guy Grey-Smith: Life Force, University of Western Australia Publishing, Perth, 2012, pp. 64 (illus.), 65

Catalogue text

The following excerpt is quoted from Gaynor, A., Guy Grey-Smith: Life Force, University of Western Australia Publishing, Perth, 2012, p. 65

‘(In the early 1960s, Guy Grey-Smith) received a commission from the Sydney publishers Ure Smith to create the cover image for Mungo MacCallum’s forthcoming book Son of Mars. Darlington resident Ian Parkes sat for the portrait and he provides a vivid account of Guy’s painterly approach – and of the man himself:

I sat for it in the studio at the back of the house in Darlington, at a reasonable distance from him, approximately five metres. He’d look over the canvas at me and suck on his fag which was stuck down in between his fingers, between his forefinger and middle finger, draw on it, blink then turn his nose up as the smoke was getting up his nose and eyes, then he’d scrape away with the palette knife, scrape, scrape, scrape.

To begin with, it was slightly unnerving as I didn’t realise he was going to do it with a palette knife. I thought he would do a sketch first and then colour it in or something, but, no, he just attacked it straight with a knife. Didn’t see it before it was finished, and the first time I think I saw the painting, I was in Sydney at a bookshop in Kings Cross. I opened the door, walked into the bookshop, there was a big table right in front of the door, piled with Son of Mars stacked up. I sort of took a step back as I didn’t expect to see that. A bit unnerving.’1

1. Ian Parkes, interview with Andrew Gaynor, 12 May 2010.