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An image of Untitled study by Nick Mourtzakis

Nick Mourtzakis

(Australia, Greece 31 Aug 1951 – )

Untitled study
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
pencil, conté, white chalk on two joined sheets of brown paper

102.0 x 75.5 cm sheet, overall; 125.5 x 96.0 x 6.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., pencil "NICK MOURTZAKIS/ 1999".
Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2000
Accession number
© Nick Mourtzakis
Not on display
Further information

This drawing is a self-portrait made over a period of a year after the death of the artist’s mother, a time of intense emotional introspection for him. It began as a study for a painting, to examine scale, format and structure. The work extended beyond this very quickly and from an initial intention to spend several hours, the drawing involved me for several months … 'The drawing was made with and without reference to the mirror, in both artificial and natural light.
The work engages the presence of mortality and grief (as well as) continuity …' (Nick Mourtzakis, 2000).

A watercolour – 'Eleni Mourtzakis, the artist’s mother' 1984 – is in the Gallery’s collection (see Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s: from the Gallery’s collection, AGNSW, Sydney, 1995, p 107).

This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2000 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2000.

Bibliography (6)

Megan Backhouse, The Age, ‘The secret artist’, pg. 3, Melbourne, 13 May 2000, 96 (colour illus.).

Elizabeth Cross, Look, 'Nick Mourtzakis', pg. 18-23, Newtown, May 2007, 18 (colour illus.).

Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, ‘Drawing from the migrant experience’, pg. 106, Sydney, 31 Mar 2000, 106 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 7, 34, 35 (colour illus.), 60.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Newtown, Nov 2011, 30.

Hendrik Kolenberg, The Dobell Prize for Drawing: 1993-2004, ‘Introduction: the first ten years’, pg. 8-9, Sydney, 2004, 9, 30, 31 (colour illus.), 50, 53.

Exhibition history (4)

Dobell Prize for Drawing 2000, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Mar 2000–07 May 2000

The analytical portrait: works by Nikolas Mourtzakis, The Victorian College of the Arts Gallery, South Bank, 30 Mar 2004–02 Apr 2004

Slow burn: the art of Nick Mourtzakis, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, 04 Jul 2005–23 Jul 2005

Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 Years of the Dobell Drawing Prize: