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The intruder



Albert Tucker


29 Dec 1914 – 23 Oct 1999

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil and plaster on board
    100 x 74 cm sight; 101.3 x 75.8 cm masonite board; 121 x 95.5 x 4 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.l., oil "Tucker". Not dated.

    Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Barbara Jools in memory of Dr Nic Jools AM 2016
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © Albert & Barbara Tucker Foundation. Courtesy of Smith & Singer Fine Art

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Albert Tucker

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    As an expatriate artist living in Italy in the mid-1950s, Albert Tucker began to explore the ideas and imagery of the Australian landscape and mythology. ‘I was having nostalgic memories of Australia. I was remembering the dryness and gum tree trunks… I had that sense of dried out cratered form which were also volcanic landscapes, and they could also be wounds and gashes.’ 1

    This nostalgia for the harsh Australian landscape was explored in works such as 'Antipodean head II' 1959, with its bark-like head. With distance from his home country and the passage of time, Tucker’s work began to move away from the religious imagery which had surrounded him in Europe – ‘the Saint Sebastians, the Christs, the Martyrs and Crosses and Virgins’ to explorers, such as Burke and Wills, masked intruders, fauns and the Ned Kelly myth, which gave his work a new focus. A double-headed axe Tucker had viewed in the Etruscan Museum, combined with the shape of Ned Kelly’s famous armour led to the development of Tucker’s distinctive angular-profile heads, seen in works including 'The intruder', which has a rough, lunar-like surface achieved through using plaster to build up the paint surface in particular areas – Tucker’s method of capturing the uniqueness of the ancient Australian landscape.

    The parrot is another reoccurring motif in Tucker’s work, considered by the artist to be a ready-made symbol. Tucker said: ‘The claws that tear and the beak that rips in the middle of the colours of paradise… heaven and hell incorporated in one natural form – beautiful but murderous inside – a conflict between destruction and creation’.2

    1 James Mollison and Nicholas Bonham, 'Albert Tucker', 1982, 59
    2 ibid 64

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Albert Tucker

See all 87 works