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.
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".
© Barbara Tucker
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Two centuries of Australian painting, a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Orange Regional Gallery, Australia, 19 Apr 1986–15 Jun 1986
Albert Tucker: promised gifts from the Estate, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Jan 2007–11 Mar 2007
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. cat.no. 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.