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Australian art

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Silent words spray fresh job



Richard Larter

England, Australia

19 May 1929 - 25 Jul 2014


'Silent words spray fresh job' is an excellent example of Richard Larter’s large-scale pop-art painting, which was at its height from around the mid-1960s-70s. It features his trademark use of abstract interventions of colourful spots among a proliferation of images of women posed in frank, sexually-explicit poses, including his wife and muse, the artist Pat Larter. The pair were preoccupied with the candid depiction of sexuality and the nude body in their respective practices as a reaction against the acceptance of images of violence in the mainstream while images of human sexuality were deemed taboo by the establishment. Paintings which take their source material from magazines, comic books, films and pornography, including 'Silent words spray fresh job', are among his best-known.

This painting was in the private collection of esteemed arts adminstrator James Mollison AO, who was acting director of the National Gallery of Australia from 1971 to 1977 and director from 1977 to 1990, building the collection ‘from the ground up’. His most famous, and controversial, purchase was Jackson Pollock’s 'Blue poles' in 1974. He was also the director of the National Gallery of Victoria from 1989 to 1995, making an immense contribution to Australian art through these roles.




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint and pencil on cotton duck


181.0 x 362.0 x 3.0 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., yellow synthetic polymer paint "R. Larter. Jan.1973.".


Gift of James Mollison AO 2019. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Richard Larter

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Kelly Gellatly, Stripperama: Richard Larter, Bulleen, 2002, 24, 28-29 (colour illus.), 43.