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Australian art

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circa 1960


Tony Tuckson

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.


Other Title

Abstract on hardboard no. 3; TP490; TP216b


circa 1960

Media category


Materials used

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

Accession number


Artist information

Tony Tuckson

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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.). 41 as TP490

Frank’s flat: A selection from Frank Watters collection, Maitland, 2011, 33. 211