Return of the Meteor jets, Kimpo, Korea

Ivor Hele1953

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

Ivor Hele's Korean works have a nervous edgy quality and are powerful yet disturbing images of the Korean War.

In the capacity of official war artist in Korea, Ivor Hele was requested to paint the men and machines of 77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force at Kimpo. The new silver Gloster Meteor jets were not easy to depict and at times Hele struggled to convincingly portray their form and surfaces.The figures in the work have a sense of disparate and unconnected activity. The crewmen are working together, but remain somehow apart. Hele was striving, but not quite succeeding, to build a formal set piece action painting, something he had so successfully created in the past. The difficulty he had in creating these works parallels the dogged efforts of the soldiers and airmen he depicts.

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  • Title: Return of the Meteor jets, Kimpo, Korea
  • Creator: Ivor Hele (1912–1993), Second World War official war artist, served AIF Korean War official war artist
  • Date Created: 1953
  • Physical Dimensions: 78.5 x 122 cm
  • Provenance: acquired under the official war art scheme in 1953
  • Medium: oil on hardboard