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Australian art

Contemporary art

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nature. insects plants flowers. shells fish corals. the microscopic creatures. dreams



Nick Mourtzakis

Australia, Greece

31 Aug 1951 -


An imposing image of the artist’s larger than life-sized face seen at close quarters, Nick Mourtzakis’s drawing impels our entry into a private inner realm. It is a self-portrait in which the artist sought to resolve his sense of physical separateness and identity as an individual, with his knowledge and awareness of our fluid connectedness to all nature at the fundamental level of organic matter. The title conveys this overarching awareness that everything has its
source in nature, which, for Mourtzakis, is a crucial part of his imaginative and emotional inner life.

The richly textured surface of the drawing attests to several concentrated sessions of re-working over a period of five years, revealing the extensive layers of drawing, erasure and re-drawing, characteristic of his approach. His geometric rendering of complex facial forms also reflects Mourtzakis’s longstanding interest in analytical cubism.

This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2006 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2006.


Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

black wax crayon, lithographic crayon, pencil, paper tapes, white gouache, light brown wash, scraping out on paper


68.6 x 54.2 cm image; 80.6 x 59.3 cm sheet; 94.0 x 77.5 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., black wax crayon "NM", lithographic crayon "206"


Gift of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2006


Not on display

Accession number


Dobell Prize for Drawing

Winner - 2006

Artist information

Nick Mourtzakis

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


Elizabeth Cross, Look, 'Nick Mourtzakis', pg. 18-23, Sydney, Jul 2007, 19 (colour illus.). Photograph of the artist standing in front of 'nature. insects plants flowers. shells fish corals. the microscopic creatures. dreams'.

Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, ‘Returning to nature’, pg. 92, Sydney, 29 Sep 2006, 92.

Peter Jonson (Editor), Henry Thornton, '2006 Dobell Prize for Drawing', Melbourne, 28 Sep 2012, (colour illus.). viewed 28.09.2006,

Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 7, 46, 47 (colour illus.), 61.

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Nov 2011, 30, 31 (colour illus.).

Steve Meacham, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘What makes a drawing? It’s often a fine line’, pg. 13, Sydney, 25 Dec 2011, 13 (colour illus.).

Clare Morgan, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Artist’s blades cut his style to a winning edge’, pg. 3, Sydney, 25 Sep 2006, 3 (colour illus.). Mourtzakis is pictured standing in front of the work.

Alan Oakley (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Dobell Prize for Drawing’, Sydney, 13 Oct 2006-19 Oct 2006, 23 (colour illus., detail). metro art section

Alan Oakley (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Mourtzakis wins second Dobell', Sydney, 28 Sep 2006, (colour illus., detail). viewed 29.09.2006,

Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop., The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Dobell win for Mourtzakis’, Sydney, 28 Sep 2006, (colour illus.). viewed 29.09.2006,

Udo Sellbach (Editor), Imprint, ‘Dobell Prize for Drawing 2006’, Melbourne, Summer 2006, 27 (colour illus.).

Ignacio Villarreal (Editor),, 'Nick Mourtzakis wins 2006 Dobell Prize for Drawing', Mexico City, 03 Oct 2006, (colour illus.). viewed 04.10.2006,