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Australian art

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The public private preview



Ken Reinhard


1936 -


Ken Reinhard was, along with Mike Brown and Martin Sharp, a pioneering practitioner of pop art in Sydney, during the early to mid-1960s. Described in The Sunday Telegraph by critic/curator Daniel Thomas as pop art's "first big blessing"[1], Reinhard's awarding of the 1964 Sulman Prize for his work 'The public private preview' introduced Australian audiences to pop art. This was somewhat ironic considering 'The public private preview' satirises passing trends in art and the hype surrounding the arrival of pop in Australia.

The work depicts the opening of one of Reinhard's exhibitions in which all classes of the art world are in attendance: the beautiful people, the wheeler dealers, the know-it-all critics, and the laymen and their families. The opinionated and questioning commentary of the crowd, combined with the collaged newspaper reviews, offer a tongue-in-cheek critique of the period's established tastes and changing styles.

'Don't you think these paintings are hung just a little above our heads my dear, after all art is something about which we are all authorities'

'Well watcha think luv? Watcha think of thin of this 'ere ART?'

'But madame you must buy it, its so you and I get 33 1/3'

Stylistically it marked a point in Reinhard's early to mid-career practice when he had shifted from abstract expressionism to painterly collaged pop. There are, however, nods to Reinhard's later hard edge op-pop constructions of the late 1960s and 70s, in the trippy red and white chequered patterning and diagrammatic lettering.

1. Daniel Thomas, 'Archibald Prize' in Sunday Telegraph, 24 January 1965, p 8




Materials used

oil, paper, pencil, Letraset lettering, aluminium on hardboard


122.8 x 213.4 x 5.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Wendy Barron Bequest Fund 2015


Not on display

Accession number


Sir John Sulman Prize

Winner - 1964

Artist information

Ken Reinhard

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 16 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Archibald, Wynne & Sulman competitions for 1964, Sydney, 1964, 13. 206

Frank Cozzarelli., Bulletin, 'Painting the Life-Force', Sydney, 06 Feb 1965.

Frank Cozzarelli., Bulletin, 'Provincial Portraiture', Sydney, 30 Jan 1965.

Elwyn Lynn., The Australian, 'The ailing Archibald', Sydney, 30 Jan 1965.

McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Contemporary reflections: the art of Ken Reinhard, Langwarrin, 2004, n.pag. (colour illus.). 2

Arianne J. Rourke., Transition: Abstraction to Pop. Works from the early 1960s by Ken Reinhard, 'Forward', Sydney, 2010, n.pag.. The work is mentioned in the forward and is also reproduced in colour in the catalogue.

Bernard Smith., Age, 'Art Judges Withhold Archibald Prize Award', Melbourne, 23 Jan 1965.

Daniel Thomas, Sunday telegraph, 'NO! NO! 171 times NO! That's what the judges said about entries in this year's £900 Archibald Prize', pg. 8-9, Sydney, 24 Jan 1965.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Pop to popism, ''The easel did not go pop: it went bang!': Australian pop art', pg. 137-186, Sydney, 2014, 139, 325.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Newcastle morning herald & miners' advocate, 'No award in Archibald Prize contest', Newcastle, 23 Jan 1965.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art prizes review: Archibald, Sulman And Wynne Entries', Sydney, 23 Jan 1965.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Newcastle sun, 'No Archibald Prize award: Judges' bombshell', Newcastle, 22 Jan 1965.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily Mirror, 'Art shock - no award in Archibald Prize', Sydney, 22 Jan 1965.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Sun-Herald, 'Archibald shock: no prize awarded', Sydney, 22 Jan 1965.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Canberra times, 'Trustees refuse art prize', Ainslie, 23 Jan 1965.

50 years of the National Art School : a retrospective exhibition of major works by past students and staff of the National Art School, Paddington, 1974, n.pag. (illus.). 38