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Australian art

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Loneliness of the long distance painter



David Aspden

Australia, England

01 May 1935 - 26 Jun 2005


David Aspden was born in 1935 in England and migrated to Australia in 1950. He worked as an apprentice painter/sign writer in Port Kembla for twelve years, before pursuing his intention to be an artist, in which he was largely self-taught. He moved to Sydney in 1964, where he remained for the rest of his life. His first solo exhibition was in 1965 at Watters Gallery, with two works shown in the landmark 1968 NGV exhibition on abstraction, The field.

In 1971 he was awarded a gold medal at the XI Bienal de Sao Paulo in Brazil, and was represented in the exhibition Ten Australians which toured Europe in 1974. In 1980 he spent time in New York at the Australia Council Canal Street studio. In 1995 he won the Wynne Prize, having exhibited in 16 Wynne prizes between 1977-98, plus on Sulman Prize and one Archibald Prize. He died in Sydney in 2005.

For Aspden, painting was as much an act/process as well as the creation of an all-encompassing colour environment. His early interests lay in international formalist/ hard edge painting, which gave way to a more nuanced and lyrical abstraction influenced by music, landscape and nature. Above all, his work emphasized colour and expressed his remarkable facility for tone, and interest in balancing interlocking shapes, colours, tones and light.




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


161.7 x 411.2 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, black oil “[triangle shaped monogram]”. Not dated.


Patrick White Bequest Fund 2008


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

David Aspden

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


Anthony Bond OAM, Surface for reflexion, Sydney, 1987. List of works; Not paginated.

Elwyn Lynn (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 23, No. 3), 'Exhibition commentary', pg. 463, Sydney, Autumn 1986, 463 (colour illus.).

Elwyn Lynn, The Weekend Australian magazine, 'Coming to slippery grips with abstraction', pg. 13, Sydney, 07 Feb 1987-08 Feb 1987, 13.

Elwyn Lynn., The Weekend Australian, 'People had better learn to live with abstraction', Sydney, 07 Dec 1985-08 Dec 1985. 'Art' by Elwyn Lynn, in 'Arts' section of newspaper.

Realities Gallery, David Aspden: recent paintings, Melbourne, 1986. 2

Helen Campbell with Eric Riddler, David Aspden: the colour of music and place, 'Chronology', pg. 79-85, Sydney, 2011, 60-61 (colour illus.), 83, 88.

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, David Aspden, Sydney, 1985. 6; priced $15,000