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Saeta in green



Earl Backen


01 Sep 1927 – 03 Oct 2005

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    colour etching, aquatint on ivory wove paper
    artist's proof
    43.9 x 27.1 cm platemark; 58.7 x 46.5 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Earle Backen ... '59".

    Purchased 1960
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Art Gallery of New South Wales

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Earl Backen

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Earle Backen was born in Albury, NSW and grew up in Wagga Wagga. He studied at the Dattilo Rubbo Art School and at the Julian Ashton Art School under John Passmore in 1954. He was awarded the NSW Travelling Art Scholarship, which allowed him to study in London at the Slade School and Central School under Mervyn Peake and Keith Vaughan 1954-55. In 1956 he studied at La Grande Chaumière where he saw the work of the American abstract expressionists for the first time. After meeting friends at S W Hayter's Atelier 17 in Paris, he stayed on as a student for the next three years. Saeta in green utilises Hayter's methods, rolling on colour from a single plate at different levels and viscosities of ink; it was printed by the artist in Paris.

    Backen returned to Sydney in 1959; his prints of the early 1960s reflect the work he had been doing in Paris, although he continued to experiment with additional techniques, including photo-etching. He was a foundation member of the Sydney Printmakers group. Three of his colour etchings were included in the Gallery's touring 'Australian Print survey' of 1963-64. In 1964 he began teaching at the National Art School (East Sydney Technical College) where he set up etching classes and later at the Alexander Mackie College, Sydney. He retired from teaching in 1987 but had stopped making prints in the late 1970s, concentrating on painting in oil and watercolour.

    Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Earle Backen in focus: an artist who deserves to be more widely known', pg. 25-27, Sydney, Oct 2005, 27 (colour illus.).

    • Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 88, 89 (colour illus.). cat.no. 73

Other works by Earl Backen

See all 34 works