Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland

Charles Blackman Suite 1Brisbane’s influence on the art of Charles Blackman, one of Australia’s most important artists, will be explored in a new exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) from 7 November 2015.

Telling a fascinating story about the development of one of the country’s foremost artists, Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland features over 50 paintings and works on paper drawn from more than 12 private and state collections, and explores the connections and friendships Blackman made while living in Queensland.

“When the Sydney-born Blackman first ventured across the border into Queensland in the late 1940s he was welcomed by several notable friends and creative locals, including artist Laurence Hope and future wife Barbara Patterson,” said Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines, CNZM. “These friendships and connections had a lasting influence on Blackman’s creative oeuvre and his practice from this period.”

Brisbane-inspired works from Blackman’s famous ‘Schoolgirl’, ‘Faces and flowers’ and ‘Alice’ series form a significant part of Lure of the Sun and will be on display alongside works by fellow Australian artists Laurence Hope, Laurence Collinson and Jon Molvig.

Michael Hawker, the Gallery’s Associate Curator of Australian Art, said the artist had maintained a significant connection with Queensland since his first visit and Brisbane remained an important influence later in his career.

“While in Queensland, Blackman became acquainted with the early works of Sidney Nolan whose formative influence on the young artist can be seen in works such as the 1952 painting from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, City Lights.” said Mr Hawker.

“The work that most honours the friendships that the self-taught Blackman forged in Brisbane is The family 1955, a painting of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith which recalls a winter’s day picnic at Cedar Creek near Mount Tamborine.”

Charles Blackman was awarded the Helena Rubenstein Travelling Scholarship in 1960 and in February the next year the family sailed to London. Blackman exhibited his work to wide critical acclaim, before returning to Queensland in 1966, and shortly moved to Sydney.

In 1977 he was awarded the OBE and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. During the early 1980s he returned to Queensland and lived at Buderim and became interested in theatre design. During these years the subject of rainforests and sugar-cane fields dominated his production. He was instrumental in setting up the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship in 1987. He now resides in Sydney.

Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Exhibition: 7 November 2015 – 31 January 2016
Free entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Charles Blackman Suite I 1960 Oil on composition board Purchased 1988 with funds from the Russell Cuppaidge Bequest as a memorial to Russell Cuppaidge, CBE. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art