Discovering Dobell offers an intimate glimpse of William Dobell, the artist whose heart remained anchored in the daily life of everyday people, from the streets of Depression-raked London to Sydney’s Kings Cross.
Christopher Heathcote demonstrates how Dobell developed ideas from sketches to paintings. In some instances the book identifies previously unknown relationships between drawings, gouaches and important oils.
Discovering Dobell features the artist’s controversial and recognisable portraits of Joshua Smith, Dame Mary Gilmore and Helena Rubinstein, alongside other vital strands of his output, including affectionate images of grinning ockers, struggling young mothers, cheeky street children at play, and haughty women intent on keeping-up appearances.
This overview is rounded out with Dobell’s experimental drawings and paintings from New Guinea, as well as his little-known ventures into abstract form. This book introduces the creative achievements of this great Australian painter for a new generation of art lovers.
Christopher Heathcote, one of Australia’s foremost art critics, has written extensively on a broad range of creators – from Arthur Boyd and Edvard Munch to Virginia Woolf and Michelangelo Antonioni. An authority in twentieth-century culture, he is the author of several books including the highly acclaimed Inside the Art Market: Australia’s galleries 1956–1976, as well as A Quiet Revolution: The rise of Australian art 1946–1968, considered the definitive account of the period.
Dr Heathcote has also written several artist monographs, including A Quest for Enlightenment: The art of Roger Kemp and the groundbreaking Russell Drysdale: Defining the modern Australian landscape, which was published jointly by the Tarrawarra Museum of Art and Wakefield Press. He is a regular contributor to the current affairs journal Quadrant.
Discovering Dobell is published by Wakefield Press in conjunction with the Tarrawarra Museum of Art to coincide with the corresponding exhibition, currently on display to 13 August, and is available from all leading book retailers including Booktopia.
Image: Discovering Dobell by Christopher Heathcote (supplied)