(Australia 1902–23 Sep 1989)
48.0 x 39.7cm board; 60.1 x 52.1 x 2.7cm frame
In 1933 Arthur Murch travelled to Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in central Australia with a research team of Sydney doctors, living with Indigenous communities for six weeks. The trip sparked Murch’s interest in painting the people and landscapes of the Australian interior, which he continued over the next three decades. He later recalled, ‘when I think of the Centre it is not just time or place, but faces. I am looking into memory to find who might be written into Australian history’.
This portrait depicts Allen, a young Arrrernte boy who lived at the Hermannsburg Mission. It shows Murch’s commitment to portraying the unique character of the people he encountered, by concentrating on what he believed to be the revealing details of their physical forms. It marks a significant development in 20th-century Western representations of Indigenous people.
Daena Murray (Author), The sound of the sky: the Northern Territory in Australian art, Darwin, 2006, 13. cat.no. 72
Daena Murray (Author), The sound of the sky, Darwin, 2006, 62 (colour illus.). figure no. 68
Barry Pearce (Australia) (Author), Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, Domain, 2002, 70, 145, 147.
'Arthur Murch A Human Eye' by Barry Pearce, pg. 20., Look Nov 1997, Nov 1997, 20 (illus.).
Ria Murch (Australia, b.1920) (Author), Arthur Murch: An artist's life 1902-1989, Avalon Beach, 1997, 51, 72, 73 (colour illus.), 148.
Catherine De Lorenzo (Australia) (Author), Dinah Dysart (Australia) (Curator), A changing relationship: aboriginal themes in Australian art, c.1938-1988, Sydney, 1988, 10, 29 (illus.), 43. cat.no. 57
Daniel Thomas (Author), Project 19: Arthur Murch, Sydney, 1977. cat.no. 6
Hal Missingham (Australia, b.1906, d.1994), Contemporary Australian painting from the National Collection, Sydney, circa 1946, 10. cat.no. 13
Trustees of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia), One hundred years of Australian art, Sydney, circa 1945. cat.no. 34
'Arthur James Murch' by J.M. Gregson, pg. 8., Art in Australia [series 3] 15 Aug 1933, 15 Aug 1933, frontispiece (colour illus.), 8. titled 'Aboriginal Boy's Head'
Arthur Murch (1933), Macquarie Galleries, May 1933 -.
One hundred years of Australian art, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1945–1946.
Contemporary Australian painting from the National collection, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1946–1950.
Project 19 - Arthur Murch (1977), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 30 Jul 1977–28 Aug 1977.
A changing relationship: Aboriginal themes in Australian art, c.1938-1988, S.H. Ervin Gallery, 08 Jun 1988–31 Jul 1988.
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003.
The sound of the sky: the Northern Territory in Australian art, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, 08 Apr 2006–16 Jul 2006.