Tony Tuckson

TP 304a, 1952?-1956?
oil on canvas on canvas
34.7 x 25.2 cm (image); 37.9 x 29 cm (frame)
with details on Watters Gallery label (on the reverse)


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Watters Gallery, Sydney (03/01/006)
Acquired from the above by Jocelyn Plate, Jan-Feb 2003
The Estate of Jocelyn Plate

Tony Tuckson – People – paintings on canvas, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 28 January – 22 February 2003. cat. 6

Tony Tuckson – People – paintings on canvas, Watters Gallery, Sydney, exh. cat., 2003 illus. cat. 6

  • TP 304a

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Tony Tuckson is one of the great figures of the Australian art world, having painted in relative secrecy whilst on the Art Gallery of New South Wales executive from 1950 to 1973, only to have two solo exhibitions during his lifetime - in 1970 and 1973 - after strong encouragement from his peers. During his time at the Art Gallery of New South Wales he was notably one of the first, though unofficial, collectors of Indigenous art, making his first trips to Melville Island and Arnhem Land in 1958 and 1959.

His materials were not precious; he usually worked with acrylic, paper and composition board, which suited the urgency and directness of his expression. He worked in an abstract expressionist style that went through a series of different stages; prominent examples of this are generally seen as his nudes, interiors and still lifes of the 1950s; his red, black and white paintings and collages of the early 1960s; and his later abstractions of the 1970s that feature spare grounds of colour with lines uncompromisingly painted and incised.

Born in Egypt in 1921 and having grown up in the UK, Tuckson came to Australia in 1942 as an RAF serviceman. When he was discharged from service in 1946 he, like so many of his generation, studied at the East Sydney Technical College under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. Tuckson's major exhibitions are the 1976 memorial exhibition 'Tony Tuckson 1921-1973', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the retrospective 'Painting Forever: Tony Tuckson' presented by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 2000. Tuckson dealt solely with Watters Gallery, Sydney during his lifetime.