Four uprights, red and black
Egypt, England, Australia
18 Jan 1921 - 24 Nov 1973
Tony Tuckson is widely acknowledged as Australia's pre-eminent abstract expressionist painter. From the late 1950s, Tuckson abandoned representations of the figure in his art and developed a spectacular abstract aesthetic that he worked on in various distinct phases throughout the 1960s until his death in the early 1970s. His style moved from an early calligraphic emphasis on mark making to his final sensuous and sweeping veils of paint that one critic referred to as Tuckson's own formula for the sublime.
Tuckson's work contains the gestural hallmarks of the international movements of Abstract Expressionism and Action painting, yet they also confront us as powerfully distinct in their expressive capacities. The works of those who inspired him may have appeared more obvious in the early stages of his practice (the impact of Rauschenberg for example can be detected in his 'red, black and white' series), and yet his interpretation of twentieth century masters produced a style that was in more ways the artist's own.
TP62 (IRN: 25045)
polyvinyl acetate and pigment on hardboard
122.4 x 183.2 x 2.5 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© The estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Tony Tuckson (1970), Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 27 May 1970–13 Jun 1970
Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Apr 1976–09 May 1976
Tony Tuckson 1921-1973: a retrospective exhibition, Pinacotheca Gallery, Australia, 13 Oct 1982–30 Oct 1982
Up, down and across, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, 11 Aug 1995–08 Oct 1995
Escape Artists - modernists in the tropics:
- Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns 30 May 1998–30 Aug 1998
- Rockhampton Art Gallery, Rockhampton 23 Sep 1998–31 Oct 1998
- Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane 21 Nov 1998–10 Jan 1999
- Mosman Regional Gallery 19 Jan 1999–24 Feb 1999
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 05 Mar 1999–09 May 1999
- Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville 21 May 1999–27 Jun 1999
Painting forever: The art of Tony Tuckson:
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 04 Nov 2000–04 Feb 2001
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 23 Mar 2001–20 May 2001
- Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre 07 Sep 2001–10 Feb 2002
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 07 Sep 2001–21 Oct 2001
- Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne 23 Feb 2002–21 Apr 2002
Frank's flat, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, 27 May 2011–17 Jul 2011
Tony Tuckson: the abstract sublime, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Nov 2018–17 Feb 2019
Referenced in 6 publications
Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, Sydney, 1976, 29, 44 (illus.). cat.no. 67
Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 1989, 109 (colour illus.) (plate 127), 184. cat.no. 62
Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 2006, 128 (colour illus.) (plate 139), 199-200.
Escape artists - modernists in the tropics, Cairns, 1998, 140, 142 (colour illus.).
Painting forever: Tony Tuckson, Canberra, 2000, 45 (colour illus.), 61. cat.no. 47
Frank’s flat: A selection from Frank Watters collection, Maitland, 2011, 27 (colour illus., detail), 33. cat.no. 213