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Charles Blackman


12 Aug 1928 – 20 Aug 2018

Artist profile

  • Details

    Other Title
    (Three schoolgirls)
    Media category
    Materials used
    charcoal on thin cream wove paper
    52.7 x 61.0 cm image; 68.8 x 86.3 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated in image l.r., blue ball-point pen "BLACKMAN 54".

    Gift of Gwen Frolich 2003
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Charles Blackman/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Charles Blackman

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Charles Blackman is best known as one of the Antipodean modernist artists to emerge in the post-war years in Melbourne, largely under the patronage of John and Sunday Reed.

    Blackman is also arguably one of Australian art’s finest draughtsmen. His schoolgirl drawings were the first consistent series of drawings he made, and were to a large part instrumental in establishing his reputation as a major Australian artist.

    The unsolved murder of a school friend of Blackman's first wife Barbara, was the spark for the 'Schoolgirl' series, begun in 1952 and further developed the following year. Figures, including schoolgirls, appear in desolate urban or industrial landscapes. The drawings have an eerie, surreality about them, complete with a sense of impending danger or menace.

    Blackman concentrated on making these drawings for a period of about eight months and he described them as '... the first complete works of art I ever did' (Thomas Shapcott, 'The art of Charles Blackman', London: André Deutsch, 1989 p.11). They have come to epitomize the best of his work.

    © Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2003

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Laura Pia, Look, 'Blackman at the gallery: Are the drawings his greatest achievement?', pg. 23-27, Sydney, May 2008, 27 (colour illus.).

    • Thomas Shapcott, The art of Charles Blackman, London, 1989, (illus.). no. 26

Other works by Charles Blackman

See all 53 works