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An image of (Pale yellow with charcoal lines) by Tony Tuckson

Tony Tuckson

(Egypt, England, Australia 18 Jan 1921 – 24 Nov 1973)

(Pale yellow with charcoal lines)
Other titles:
Pale yellow with charcoal lines
Untitled (Pale yellow with charcoal lines)
No title (Pale yellow with charcoal lines)
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint and charcoal on hardboard

214.0 x 122.5 cm board

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 2013
Accession number
© Estate of the artist
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

'He shows the making of a painting with all the travail fully exposed, without prettification or pretence ... there is something almost shocking in the completeness of the exposure'. James Gleeson, April 1973

Tony Tuckson is admired as one of Australia's finest abstract expressionist painters. From the late 1950s, he used increasingly simplified forms and restricted colour to concentrate on the act of painting. While absorbing developments in European and American abstraction, and admiring the work of fellow Australian artist Ian Fairweather, Tuckson's approach may be most strongly allied to his lifelong interest in Aboriginal and Melanesian art.

Working as Deputy Director of this Gallery from the 1950s to 1973, Tuckson painted prodigiously in private. During his lifetime, his artistic career was almost completely overshadowed by his art museum profession. His belated first solo exhibition was held in 1970 at Watters Gallery, Sydney and his second in 1973 - a few months before his premature death at the age of 52.

Painted during this late period, '(Pale yellow with charcoal lines)' presents a surface animated by broad, lyrical brushstrokes. Layers of paint in subdued hues have been built up on the hardboard surface. A long, narrow section of the composition is left unpainted, revealing the raw board beneath. This vertical strip, which is reminiscent of a Barnett Newman 'zip' - and which is echoed in the charcoal lines drawn upon the painted surface - brings a host of allusions into play with the painting.

Bibliography (7)

Renée Free, Geoffrey Legge and Daniel Thomas, Tony Tuckson, Roseville, 2006, 150 (colour illus.), 201. plate no. 166

Terence Maloon, Tony Tuckson: themes and variations, Bulleen, 1989, 26. titled 'Untitled (Pale yellow with charcoal lines)'; 37

Terence Maloon and Tim Fisher, Painting forever: Tony Tuckson, Canberra, 2000, 57 (colour illus.), 62. titled 'No title (Pale yellow with charcoal lines)'; 55

Tony Oliver (Curator), Reversals: Philip Guston and Tony Tuckson, Paddington, 1994, n.pag. (colour illus.). titled and dated 'Pale yellow with charcoal lines' 1973; 24

Daniel Thomas, Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, Melbourne, 1982, 32, 52 (illus.). 96

Daniel Thomas, Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, Sydney, 1976, 16, 30, 49 (illus.). 90

Robert Whitehead (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 21 Jan 2001, 10. Spectrum supplement

Exhibition history (5)

Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Apr 1976–09 May 1976

Tony Tuckson 1921-1973: a retrospective exhibition, Pinacotheca Gallery, Australia, 13 Oct 1982–30 Oct 1982

Tony Tuckson, themes and variations:

Reversals: Philip Guston and Tony Tuckson:

Painting forever: The art of Tony Tuckson: