Kitchen at Smacka's, from the series Kitchen at Smacka's
29 Oct 1939 -
Drawing did not begin to occupy Jan Senbergs seriously until the late 1970s after he stopped screenprinting and had completed a major sculpture commission for the High Court of Australia. His first exhibition of drawings, 'Port pastels', was in Sydney at the Rudy Komon Art Gallery in 1979. Drawing has since remained central to his practice. 'Kitchen at Smacka’s' is a panoramic view of Senbergs’ studio, a cavernous space in inner Melbourne, occupied in the 1960s and 70s by a nightclub named after its owner, Smacka Fitzgibbon.
The building was a prominent part of Melbourne’s jazz scene before Senbergs occupied it. In the first two sheets of the four-part drawing, the semi-circular dance floor can be seen, which Senbergs has retained; in the fourth sheet, the old bar is visible. Senbergs only submitted the third and fourth sheets of this quartet of drawings to the Dobell Prize. After it was acquired for the Gallery’s collection as the winning work, the artist gifted the first and second sheets of the quartet to the Gallery. A drawing of the interior of his previous studio in Middle Park, 'Studio interior' 1993, is also in the Gallery’s collection.
black pastel, on thick white wove paper (third and fourth panels of a quartet)
153.5 x 115.0 cm sheet; 153.5 x 232.0 cm diptych overall; 153.5 x 464.0 cm quartet overall; single frame dimension 165.5 x 126.0 x 5.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 1995
Not on display
© Jan Senbergs
Where the work was made
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Dobell Prize for Drawing 1995, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Apr 1995–28 May 1995
Expressive figuration: drawings by Kevin Connor, Pam Hallandal and Jan Senbergs:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 14 Dec 1996–02 Feb 1997
- Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia, Perth 18 Apr 1997–01 Jun 1997
Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1997–15 Mar 1998
Dobell Drawing Prize 1998 (Touring show):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 14 Mar 1998–19 Apr 1998
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 24 Jul 1998–06 Sep 1998
Dobell Prize for Drawing: the first ten years, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Sep 2004–30 Nov 2004
Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 Years of the Dobell Drawing Prize:
- Grafton Regional Gallery 15 Feb 2013–24 Mar 2013
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 30 Mar 2013–05 May 2013
- Orange Regional Gallery, Orange 05 Jul 2013–18 Aug 2013
- National Art School, Darlinghurst 29 Aug 2013–06 Oct 2013
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 18 Oct 2013–24 Nov 2013
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 11 Apr 2014–18 May 2014
Referenced in 12 publications
Elizabeth Fortescue., The Daily Telegraph, 'Back to drawing board’, Sydney, Apr 1995. page number and publication date unknown
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Nov 2011, 30.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, ‘Drawing conclusions’, pg. 17, Sydney, Sep 2006, 17.
Hendrik Kolenberg, The Dobell Prize for Drawing: 1993-2004, ‘Introduction: the first ten years’, pg. 8-9, Sydney, 2004, 9, 20, (illus.), 21 (illus.), 50, 51.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Drawing a winner: a decade of Dobell prizes shows us how and why', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Aug 2003, 26, 27 (illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 7, 24, 25 (colour illus.), 60.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, ‘Introduction’, pg. 9-13, Sydney, 1997, 13, 132 (illus.), 133 (illus.). cat.no. 130
John MacDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Few mutterings but work a winning choice’, pg. 12, Sydney, 08 Apr 1995, 12 (illus.).
Patrick McCaughey, Voyage and landfall: the art of Jan Senbergs, ‘The studio and the dangerous world 1991-1994’, pg. 159-188, Carlton, 2006, 178-181 (illus.).
Bronwyn Watson, Look, 'Prize drawings: building a collection by competition', pg. 24-26, Melbourne, Oct 2001, 26 (illus.).
Judith Wright, Look, 'Drawing at its best', pg. 15, Melbourne, Mar 1999, 15 (illus.).
Expressive figuration, Sydney, 1996. cat.no. 48