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Blackman Charles



Charles Blackman    Pages: 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Blackman (born August 12, 1928) is an Australian artist, perhaps best known for his famous Schoolgirl and Alice in Wonderland series produced during the 1950s.

Blackman, born in Sydney, left school at 13 (some sources say 15) and worked as an illustrator with the Sydney Sun newspaper while attending night classes at East Sydney Technical College (1943-46). He came to notice following his move to Melbourne in the mid-1940s, where he became friends with Joy Hester and John Perceval as well as gaining the support of critic and art patron John Reed. His work met critical acclaim through his early Schoolgirl and Alice series, the latter Blackman's conception of Lewis Carroll's most famous character. For some time while painting the Alice series, Blackman worked as a cook at a cafe run by fellow artist Mirka Mora. Blackman married the poet Barbara Patterson in 1951.

In 1959 he was a signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto, a statement protesting the dominance of abstract expressionism. The manifesto's adherents have been dubbed the Antipodeans Group. His work is associated with dreamlike images tinged with mystery and foreboding. In 1960 he lived in London after winning the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship, settling in Sydney upon his return six years later. After 27 years of marriage, Patterson divorced Blackman in 1978 and he remarried in 1989. He has won many prizes and distinctions, culminating in a major retrospective in 1993 and an OBE for services to Australian art in 1997.

A portrait of Charles Blackman by Jon Molvig won the Archibald Prize in 1966.

After years of alcohol abuse, Blackman now suffers from Korsakoff's syndrome, a brain disorder affecting memory. After suffering a stroke and heart attack in 1994, Blackman has subsequently been under full-time care. His carer of 15 years, Fred O'Brien, is a long-time admirer of Blackman's art. The two men apparently share a mutual respect, Blackman saying of O'Brien, "We look after each other." The subject of ownership of Blackman's paintings has been a controversial issue, though his former wife maintains that her possession of some of them has been for the sake of preservation and that she intends to donate them to galleries. Blackman has repeatedly expressed disdain for the concept of making money from or maintaining exclusive ownership of his paintings. His accountant and close friend, Tom Lowenstein, set up the Charles Blackman Trust to manage the painter's affairs. Lowenstein periodically sells off the works that Blackman still owns to ensure Blackman's expenses are taken care of. Blackman lives a simple but happy life in his rented home in Sydney. He meets with friends and fellow artists Judy Cassab and Marina Finlay twice a month to draw and have "passionate discussions" about art.


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