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Australian art

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Apocalyptic horse



Albert Tucker


29 Dec 1914 - 23 Oct 1999


Tucker's paintings created outside Australia during the 1950s and 1960s reveal an affinity with the Italian painter Alberto Burri, whom he had met in Rome in 1953–54. Intrigued by the textural quality inherent in polyvinyl acetate (used by Burri to create his evocative built-up surfaces), Tucker adopted the flexible and leathery toughness of this new material into his work.

During his time in Rome in 1954 Tucker also met his friend Sidney Nolan, who had brought with him photographs of the 1952 Queensland drought. Images of desiccated animal carcasses strewn across a parched terrain left an enduring impression on Tucker. 'Apocalyptic horse' was painted in reaction to these images, and is one of several works which display Tucker’s conversion from oils to fast-drying acrylic paint, evoking the shape and texture of the Australian outback.

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Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


62.0 x 81.0 cm board; 79.4 x 97.8 x 3.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, black oil "Tucker 1956".


Purchased 1982

Accession number


Artist information

Albert Tucker

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Nicolas Brasch, Horses in Australia: an illustrated history, 'The horse in art', pg. 226-239, Sydney, 2014, 247 (colour illus.).

Janine Burke, Look, 'Extreme contradictory fascinating', pg. 29-30, Sydney, Aug 2002, 30 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian 20th Century Art', pg. 71-89, Sydney, 1984, 82, 83 (colour illus.).

Sarah Couper, Look, 'God is a drover: Death in the outback', pg. 30-31, Sydney, Nov 2014, 30, 31 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 38 (colour illus.), 37. 40

Gavin Fry, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Albert Tucker', pg. 100-111, Sydney, 2000, 106 (colour illus.).

James Mollison and Jan Minchin, Albert Tucker: a retrospective, 'Albert Tucker interview with James Mollison', pg. 7-16, Melbourne, 1990, 51 (colour illus.), 115.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 32.

Geoffrey Smith, Sidney Nolan: desert & drought, 'Outback and beyond', pg. 126-127, Melbourne, 2003, 127 (colour illus.). figure no. 3

Natalie Wilson, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Out of Melbourne: realisms and mythologies', pg. 163-164, Sydney, 2000, 164, 179 (colour illus.), 302.