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Man of paper VII



Godwin Bradbeer

New Zealand, Australia

1950 -


‘Stark, simple, spartan, sublime, if ever possible. This I want my paintings and my drawings to be.’ (Godwin Bradbeer, 1998). 'Man of paper VII' was partly inspired by a character in Martin Scorsese’s film 'Raging Bull' (1980), about a struggling, middle-aged boxer, and partly by a mature age student of the artist, an ex-boxer, who became his studio assistant. Bradbeer was struck by the vulnerability of a classic boxing pose this man made one day, and made several versions of the subject. ‘It was like he was crying, an image like a cowering, cornered animal.’ (Rebecca Lancashire, 1998).

Bradbeer works on his drawings over extended periods of time, returning to each again and again. They are built up over an anatomical substructure in many layers of graphite, chinagraph, pastel and charcoal, each layer scraped back
or polished with a spoon.

'I work with layers, like a layer of anatomy, layers of translucent flesh, of blacks and silver. For instance, in the use of various whites … so that the underdrawing tends to have an ivory cast to it and the overdrawing has a luminosity, so one looks solid, the other more diaphanous …' (Godwin Bradbeer, 1999).

This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 1998 and was acquired by the Gallery in 1998.


Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

graphite, chinagraph, charcoal, pastel, scraping out on white wove paper


133.2 x 110.6 cm sheet ; 150.5 x 128.0 x 2.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated u.r.corner, pencil "1995-98 Goodwin Bradbeer".


Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Dobell Prize for Drawing (discontinued)

Winner - 1998

Artist information

Godwin Bradbeer

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Bulle Galleries (Editor), Godwin Bradbeer, Melbourne, 1999, (colour illus.). plate no. 2

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Drawing the spotlight', pg. 18-19, Sydney, Jun 2002, 19.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, The Dobell Prize for Drawing: 1993-2004, ‘Prize winners’, pg. 15-39, Sydney, 2004, 26, 27 (colour illus.), 50, 52.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Drawing a winner: a decade of Dobell Prizes shows us how and why’, pg. 24-27, Sydney, Aug 2003, 25, 26.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 9, 30, 31 (colour illus.), 60.

Rebecca Lancashire., The Age, ‘The high achiever becomes top drawer’, Melbourne, 27 Jul 1998. page number unknown

Bernard Ryan, RMIT openline: the university newspaper, ‘The art of paradox’, pg. 2, Melbourne, Apr 1998, 2, 12 (colour illus., detail).

Myfanwy Warhurst., Inpress, ‘A body of work’, Melbourne, 24 Aug 1998. not paginated