Domenico de Clario
a letter to danila (what you hoped for through your lifetime)

148 x 210mm
b/w ill.
Edition of 300
ISBN: 978-0-646-84752-8

a letter to danila (what you hoped for through your lifetime) pays homage to the life and work of Russian born painter and sculptor, Danila Vassilieff. After settling in Australia in 1935, Vassilieff established a reputation for his depictions of early twentieth century suburban life in the working-class communities of Collingwood, Fitzroy and East Melbourne. Welcomed into Melbourne’s artistic community by members of the infamous ‘Heide Circle’, Vassilieff is credited with exposing Australian modernism to the figurative traditions associated with Russian decorative and folk art, influencing an entire generation of unapologetic young artists including Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, and Sidney Nolan.

Domenico de Clario first encountered Vassilieff’s work as a teenager, when he stumbled across an old catalogue on the shelves of his high school library. Leafing through black and white reproductions of Vassilieff’s inner city neighbourhoods summoned memories and sensations of arriving with his own family from Trieste, Italy, in 1956 and settling in Smith St, Fitzroy. Establishing a post-humous dialogue with Vassilieff six decades later, a letter to danila (what you hope for through your lifetime) weaves connections between the artists’ shared journeys of migration, navigating creative life in Australia and their eventual relocation to Mildura in regional Victoria.

Each edition is signed and numbered by the artist.

This project was supported by a City of Yarra Small Project Grant.

Author: Domenico de Clario
Design: Alex Ward
Publication coordinator: Brigid Moriarty
Copy editor: Sarah Gory

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