29 Dec 1914 - 23 Oct 1999
Albert Tucker, one of Australia’s most important post-war artists, helped reinvigorate and re-mythologise the Australian landscape through his modernist approach. Along with Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, John Perceval and Arthur Boyd, he was part of the group of artists active at Heide, near Melbourne, in the 1940s and enjoyed the patronage of John and Sunday Reed. Tucker left Australia in 1947 and spent the next thirteen years travelling and painitng in Japan, England, Europe and the United States.
As an expatriate artist living in Italy in the 1950s, Albert Tucker began to explore the ideas and imagery of the Australian landscape and mythology. ‘I was having nostalgic memories of Australia. I was remembering the dryness and gum tree trunks… I had that sense of dried out cratered form which were also volcanic landscapes, and they could also be wounds and gashes.’
In Rome Tucker met the acclaimed arte povera artist Alberto Burri, whose use of PVA and mixed media to build up his paint surfaces inspired Tucker to adopt the approach. The built-up surfaces he achieved with PVA, sand and other materials incorporated with paint are a noted characteristic of his work and realistically depict the ‘gashes and wounds’ of the harsh Australian landscape. Sand and sandpaper have been applied to the painting surface in ‘Trees I’ to great effect.
In the 1950s and 60s Tucker was determined to show Australians the forms and shapes of the country through both his paint treatment and subject matter. His handling of the themes of Australia’s people and land brought a fresh approach to painting in this country and contributed to the myth-making of Australia’s folk heroes and its unique and strange wildlife, all powered by his affection for the native landscape.
oil, sandpaper on hardboard
91.3 x 120.8 cm board; 104.5 x 134 x 4.6 cm framed
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r.corner, black synthetic polymer paint "Tucker 64".
Gift of the Albert & Barbara Tucker Foundation 2017
Not on display
© Albert & Barbara Tucker Foundation. Courtesy of Sotheby's Australia
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Albert Tucker (1965), Dominion Galleries, Sydney, 1965–1965
The Australian painters 1964 - 1966: contemporary Australian painting from the Mertz collection:
- The Corcoran Gallery of Art, United States of America 10 Mar 1967–24 Apr 1967
- Museum of Fine Arts, St Petersberg, Florida, St Petersberg 24 Aug 1967–24 Sep 1967
- University Art Museum (University of Texas), Austin 26 Oct 1967–16 Nov 1967
- State University of New York, United States 07 Dec 1967–28 Dec 1967
- University of Alabama 01 Feb 1968–07 Mar 1968
- Greenville Power & Light Company 25 Apr 1968–16 May 1968
- DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln 12 Sep 1968–07 Nov 1968
- West Virginia University, Morgantown 12 Jan 1969–09 Feb 1969
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 14 Sep 1969–12 Oct 1969
- Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle 02 Nov 1969–30 Nov 1969
- Watkins Institute, Nashville 08 Feb 1970–08 Mar 1970
Albert Tucker: promised gifts from the Estate, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Jan 2007–11 Mar 2007
Albert Tucker landscapes, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 28 Jun 2008–22 Feb 2009
Referenced in 9 publications
Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Foundation Newsletter #8, Sydney, Jun 2006. not paginated
Christie's Australia. The Harold E Mertz Collection of Australian Art: Melbourne 28 June 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 131 (colour illus.). lot no. 118
Dominion Galleries and Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, 1965, Sydney, 1965. cat.no. 12
Gavin Fry, Albert Tucker, Sydney, 2006, 161 (colour illus.).
Lesley Harding, Hinterlands: Albert Tucker's landscapes 1960-1975, 'Images and imaginings: Abert Tucker's landscapes', pg. 26-39, Victoria, 2008, 3 (colour illus.), 36, 44 (colour illus.). Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, On loan from Barbara Tucker 2006
The Australian painters 1964-1966: contemporary Australian painting from the Mertz collection, Adelaide, 1967, 53 (illus.). cat.no. 43
Bert & Ned: the correspondence of Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan, Carlton, 2006, 212 (colour illus., detail),213, 235 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Look, ''Albert Tucker: A chance for Sydney to get to know a Melbourne artist better', pg. 12, Sydney, Mar 2007, 12.
Christopher Uhl, Albert Tucker, Melbourne, 1969. possibly cat.no. 12.38; dated 1965; private collection