Australian Art and Artists in London, 1950-1965: An Antipodean Summer

1st Edition

Simon Pierse

Routledge
Published October 14, 2016
Reference - 316 Pages
ISBN 9781138246393 - CAT# Y312572

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Summary

Subtle and wide-ranging in its account, this study explores the impact of Australian art in Britain in the two decades following the end of World War II and preceding the 'Swinging Sixties'. In a transitional period of decolonization in Britain, Australian painting was briefly seized upon as a dynamic and reinvigorating force in contemporary art, and a group of Australian artists settled in London where they held centre stage with group and solo exhibitions in the capital's most prestigious galleries. The book traces the key influences of Sir Kenneth Clark, Bernard Smith and Bryan Robertson in their various (and varying) roles as patrons, ideologues, and entrepreneurs for Australian art, as well as the self-definition and interaction of the artists themselves. Simon Pierse interweaves multiple issues of the period into a cohesive historical narrative, including the mechanics of the British art world, the limited and frustrating cultural scene of 1950s Australia, and the conservative influence of Australian government bodies. Publishing for the first time archival material, letters, and photographs previously unavailable to scholars either in Britain or Australia, this book demonstrates how the work of expatriate Australian artists living in London constructed a distinct vision of Australian identity for a foreign market.

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