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George SILK

New Zealand 1916 – Norwalk, Connecticut, United States of America 2004

  • Australia 1939-1945
  • United States of America from 1945

My favourite cow. Spring in New Zealand ['Spring'in New Zealand (on first publication in 'Life', 1 Feb. ,1943,p.100 My favourite cow] 1942 Place made: North Island, New Zealand
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph
Primary Insc: verson in pencil, 'My favourite cow George Silk'

Dimensions: image 29.8 h x 23.4 w cm sheet 35.2 h x 27.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2000
Accession No: NGA 2000.327

More detail

George Silk made this image of a pregnant cow in New Zealand in September 1942 while on leave after being in the Middle East, Greece, Crete and North Africa and before going to New Guinea. It reminded him of the book and Disney cartoon character Ferdinand the Bull, and remained a favourite image perhaps because of the contrast its humour and fertility made with the horrors of war. From New Guinea he sent a print to Life - he first saw copies of the magazine in the Middle East.

Life published the image in the section 'Pictures to the Editors' on 1 February 1943 and the following month ran his New Guinea photograph, the Blinded soldier. On the basis of these two photographs, Wilson Hicks, Executive Editor of Life, offered Silk a job covering the war for the magazine.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra