(Australia, Japan, Germany 1942 – 01 Jun 2012)
10.4 x 10.4 cm platemark; 24.4 x 24.5 cm sheet
Jörg Schmeisser studied at the Hamburg Fine Art Academy, Germany 1962–67, majoring in printmaking under Paul Wunderlich. In 1967 he received a scholarship that enabled him to continue studies at the Kyoto Fine Art Academy, Japan and taught there 1969–72 and again in 1989. From 1965–73 was a regular participant as draughtsman/artist in archaeological expeditions in Greece and Israel, run by the Columbia University of Missouri. He first visited Australia in 1976 and in 1978 he was appointed to the Canberra School of Art to establish the printmaking workshop and was its Head until 1997. He has travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and Australia and has held solo exhibitions since 1969.
One of the finest prints here is the photo-etching ‘Teramachi Dori, Kyoto’ 1980, an image in which light snow is falling on a part of old Kyoto that has since been vastly modernized. His use of the photo-etching technique extends to images of his father as a child, his paternal grandparents, his two daughters and his Japanese wife’s grandmother.
Schmeisser was best known for his diary-like images. There are several in this gift of prints, two of the most interesting are of Canberra and of the trees along the highway between Canberra and Sydney. Another relates to his visit to the Antarctic. A group of six smaller experimental Antarctic etchings is also included, complementing those already in the Gallery’s collection.
Three etchings from his first visit to Japan are particularly appealing. One of these, based on a rare collection of Bunraku dolls gives the impression that they were delineated from live subjects rather than dolls. It comprises two etching plates printed alongside one another on one sheet of paper so that they give the impression of the pages of an open sketchbook. Subject-wise this two-part etching is not unlike a page of drawings from the Gallery’s Sri Lankan sketchbook by Donald Friend.