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Roy de Maistre (1894-1968)
Boat Harbour 1925
oil on wood
60 x 67 cm
Gift of the Society of Artists 1939
Sponsored by Robyn and Keith Power in 2015 for the Adopt An Artwork Program


Born 1894, Bowral, New South Wales. Died 1968, Westminster, England.

Roy de Maistre is best known for his early collaborative experimentations in colour and abstract form with fellow artist Roland Wakelin in 1918 and 1919.

De Maistre studied the violin and viola at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music and painting at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales under Norman Carter and Antonio Dattilo Rubbo and at the Julian Ashton Art School. After briefly serving in the army, he was inspired by colour-therapy treatment given to soldiers, leading to his colour-music theory. His theory was based on analogies between colours of the spectrum and notes on the musical scale.

In 1923 de Maistre was awarded the NSW Travelling Art Scholarship, spending time in London, Paris and St Jean de Luz, where he produced several paintings of the coast, including Boat Harbour. After emigrating to London in 1930, his later works were generally influenced by Cubism and other modernist styles. A major retrospective of de Maistre’s work was held at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1960.

This work was donated to the Hinton Collection by the Society of Artists who awarded him their 1932 medal for distinguished services to the arts. During the Depression years, when works were almost unsaleable, he increased rather than decreased his purchases, often visiting artists who were experiencing misfortune and purchasing works from their studios.