The subject of this work Camaret was once a thriving fishing village in Brittany with the harbour as bustling and energetic as this work illustrates – today it is a lot more serene. Friend was visiting the region in 1971 following a successful exhibition at Drouant Gallery in Paris and was charmed by the area. He decided to stay awhile to sketch the village and its surroundings in preparation for his next French show that was scheduled for 1973.
The paintings for that exhibition were finished at his studio in Bali where he was living in palatial splendour on prime waterfront property Sanur. He had built a grand house and created a splendid garden and the local Balinese referred to him as Tuan Rakshasa or Lord Devil – a title that pleased him.
Donald Friend was an exceptional talent and had flair with both pen and paint though it is through his paintings that he is better known. His drawing skills were exceptional and every mark on the paper is correct. What he intends to depict is what he achieves. The viewer in left in little doubt that this is the scene of a thriving fishing village full of activity and the painting is the work of a master who is endowed with an abundance of natural talent.
Failing health caused Friend’s return to Australia. He had lived in Bali for fourteen years after what was only intended to be a stopover. He was accorded a retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1990 but died a few months before it opened.
Camaret was exhibited in his 1973 exhibition that was once again held at the Drouant Gallery in Paris.