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Australian art

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Five in a row show



Richard Larter

England, Australia

19 May 1929 - 25 Jul 2014


A painting of exceptional impact, 'Five in a row show' epitomises the frankness and exuberance of Larter's practice with its huge size, the proliferation of images of women, particularly in provocative poses, and Larter's trademark abstract interventions of colourful spots and stripes interspersed between the monochrome portraits.

Some of the images of women depicted in the work are taken from magazines, an abundant source of material for Larter's Pop art sensibility. Others are famous, such as Catherine Deneuve (on the telephone) and Sophia Loren, who Larter admired. Lending a personal connection to the work are multiple portraits of Larter's wife and muse, artist Pat Larter, in a range of sexually-explixit poses. The Larters were fierce objectors to censorship and both were preoccupied with the candid depiction of sexuality and the nude body in their respective practices. They both stood against the hypocrisy of the acceptance of images of violence in the mainstream while images of human sexuality were deemed taboo by the establishment.

The work was purpose-made to cover the entire wall of Frank Watters' lounge room and gifted to him in 1969. Frank Watters recalled: 'Dick started doing the painting and it was such a feat. Each panel was painted separately and after he finished each one he turned them away. So he wasn't referring to anything. He loves that thing of holding it all in his head.'1

1. Quoted in Hart, Deborah, 'Richard Larter', 48




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on five composition board panels


244.0 x 610.0 cm overall :

a - Part a, 244 x 122 cm

b - Part b, 244 x 122 cm

c - Part c, 244 x 122 cm

d - Part d, 244 x 122 cm

e - Part e, 244 x 122 cm

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black synthetic polymer paint "... Richard Larter. 1969. ...".


Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number


Artist information

Richard Larter

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Deborah Hart, Richard Larter, Canberra, 2008, 48, 50-51 (colour illus.), 52, 169.

Ron Ramsey, Look, 'Art Appreciation - Art's constant companions', pg. 26, Sydney, Nov 2019-Dec 2019, 26 (colour illus.).

Frank’s flat: A selection from Frank Watters collection, Maitland, 2011, front cover (colour illus., detail), 6 (colour illus., detail), 10 (colour illus., detail), 29. 117