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Fred Leist (1878-1945)
The Art Students 1934
oil on canvas
40.7 x 51 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1934


Born 1873, Surry Hills, New South Wales. Died 1945, Sydney, New South Wales.

Frederick William Leist was an artist well known for his use of colour and reflected light in both his Australian landscape scenes and portraits.

Trained as a furniture designer, Leist studied art at Sydney Technical College before becoming a student of plein air techniques under Julian Ashton at the Art Society of New South Wales in the 1890s. Early in his career he worked as a black and white artist for the Bulletin, the Sydney Mail and London Graphic, and was one of the twelve artists who re-established the Society of Artists in 1907.

In 1908 Leist moved to London where he held many exhibitions and participated regularly in Royal Academy shows and the Chelsea Arts Club. After working for the British War Office designed recruitment posters, he served as an official war artist during World War I with the honorary rank of Lieutenant and produced around 150 works depicting the Western Front in France. 

After receiving many accolades and travelling overseas for lucrative commissions, Leist returned to live in Sydney in 1926. The Art Students was painted during his time as an art teacher at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) from 1929 to 1938.