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.
'Abstract on hardboard no. 3' stylistically sits within Tuckson's early forays into pure abstraction circa 1960. On a white ground, typical of this period, Tuckson has overlaid dark, expressive calligraphic-like brushwork. While one might detect the loosest trace of writing in these marks, it is the expressive force of line, brushwork and colour that have become the true subject of art, indicating the elements that would remain at the heart of his panting henceforth. In diminishing figurative structure, Tuckson emphasised speed and density of mark making, giving a sense of an unleashing of greater inner truths through the sheer physical force of painting.
Abstract on hardboard no. 3; TP490; TP216b
oil enamel and ochre on hardboard
92.0 x 61.0 cm; 97.2 x 67.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© The estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Pure abstraction, The Painters Gallery, 19 Aug 1986–06 Sep 1986
First Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Melbourne, 23 Jul 1988–31 Jul 1988
Watters 25 years: Portrait of a gallery, Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 29 Nov 1989–16 Dec 1989
Tony Tuckson: the abstract sublime, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Nov 2018–17 Feb 2019
Referenced in 5 publications
Renée Free, Geoffrey Legge and Daniel Thomas AM, Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 1989, 83 (colour illus.) (plate 81), 182. as TP490
Renée Free, Geoffrey Legge and Daniel Thomas AM, Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 2006, 99 (colour illus.) (plate 88), 197-198. as TP490
Denise Mimmocchi (Editor), Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 2018, 40, 73, 74 (colour illus.) (detail), 75, 94 (colour illus.), 208, 223.
Watters 25 years: Portrait of a gallery, East Sydney, 1989, n.p. (illus.). cat.no. 41 as TP490
Frank’s flat: A selection from Frank Watters collection, Maitland, 2011, 33. cat.no. 211