Depths of ignorance

Prospect Magazine

Depths of ignorance

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The Royal Academy’s new exhibition shows how little Brits know about Australian art













John Olsen’s Sydney Sun, 1965, on display in the “Australia” show © DACS 2013

Australian art used to be well known and widely collected in Britain. As long ago as 1898 the Grafton Galleries could put on a show of Australian painting without apology or explanation. In 1923 the painter Elioth Gruner curated an exhibition of Australian art at Burlington House. In 1961 the Whitechapel Gallery hosted an exhibition called “Recent Australian Painting” with works by Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, John Brack, Russell Drysdale, Ian Fairweather, ST Gill, John Olsen, Jeffrey Smart, Arthur Streeton, Albert Tucker and Brett Whiteley. The Tate bought Whiteley’s Red Painting from that show and mounted its own exhibition of Australian painting two years later. In the 1960s and 70s Boyd, Nolan, Whiteley, Colin Lanceley, Charles Blackman and Barbara Hanrahan were familiar figures

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  1. October 18, 2013

    derek wood

    germaine, you are doing a great job. but why is looby not on yr list ? too hot to touch ? best rgds derek wood

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Germaine Greer is an Australian academic and feminist writer 

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