Charles Blackman OBE was a painter for almost seven decades. He co-founded the Melbourne Contemporary Art Society in 1953 and was one of seven artists aligned with the Antipodeans, a Melbourne-based group. He exhibited widely in Australia, UK, France, the US and throughout Asia. A major retrospective of Blackman’s work Schoolgirls and Angels was organised by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1993 and, in 2006, works from his Alice in Wonderland series (1956–1957) were brought together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their creation. As the recipient of the Helena Rubenstein Travelling Scholarship in 1960, Blackman moved to London until 1964, exhibiting in group shows at Whitechapel and Tate Galleries. Blackman was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1977. Blackman’s works are held in the National Gallery of Australia, all Australian state galleries and many regional galleries, as well as in private collections worldwide.
“What made me become a painter? What forces were at work within me to make me decide, at the age of 19 or 20, that I wanted to be painter and would be a good painter and that this would be my whole life and that I would devote all the energy and understanding I could muster to that end?”
From the Director and CEO Steven Alderton
“I would like to pay tribute to Charles Blackman, an extraordinary artist who made work that helped forge an Australian visual language of the 20th century. As a National Art School alumni he will be sorely missed, but his enduring visual language and mastery of the medium will live on.As a teenager, Blackman worked as an illustrator and sub-editor’s copyboy at Sydney Newspaper The Sun before studying night classes at East Sydney Technical College for three years, from 1943-1946. Participating in the National Art Part One exhibition and celebrating his 90th birthday only a week ago, Blackman had continued to draw, even after moving into an aged care facility earlier this year. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”