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Australian art

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Jumping horse-mackerel



John Passmore


04 Feb 1904 - 09 Oct 1984


John Passmore studied briefly at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School before travelling to England in 1933, where he remained for 18 years. Inspired by modern French painting, in particular the work of Cézanne, Passmore returned to Australia in 1951 and began teaching a generation of young artists including John Olsen, Yvonne Audette and William Rose.

Passmore took part in the avant-garde exhibition 'Direction I' held at Macquarie Galleries in 1956, which launched abstract expressionism on the Sydney art scene. During this period, Passmore derived his images principally from the waterways of Sydney - fishermen, jetties and the changing patterns of sea and sunlight.

From the Gallery Shop




Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


121.9 x 149.8 cm board; 128.0 x 156.0 x 5.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, "August 1959 [pencil]/ -Sept. 1959 [brown (oil?)]/ J.Passmore [(pencil?)]".


Purchased 1959

Accession number


Artist information

John Passmore

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 13 publications


Christine France, New Directions 1952-1962, 'New directions 1952-1962', pg. 7-19, Sydney, 1991, 43. 56

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'The competitive spirit in Australian art', pg. 350-363, Carlton, 2013, 350 (colour illus., detail), 354, 355, 356 (colour illus.), 551, 566. plate no. 34.3

Robert Hughes, The art of Australia, Melbourne, 1970, 15, 261 (illus.), 262, 328. 106

Ronald Millar, Civilized magic: an interpretive guide to Australian paintings, Toorak, 1974, 21 (colour illus.).

Hal Missingham (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Acquisitions for 1959', Sydney, Apr 1960, 19 (illus.).

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Remembering John Passmore: a home for the works of an important Australian artist', pg. 20-22, Sydney, Aug 2004, 20 (colour illus.), 21.

Unknown (Compilator), Recent Australian Painting, London, 1961, (illus.). plate no. IV

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 19 Sep 1959.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily telegraph and daily news, Sydney, 17 Sep 1959.

Barry Pearce, John Passmore 1904-84, Sydney, 1984, 77 (colour illus.). 50

The Helena Rubinstein Travelling Art Scholarship 1959, Sydney, 1959. 46

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 123 (colour illus.).

Mervyn Horton (Editor), Art and Australia [vol. 1, no. 1], Sydney, May 1963, 11 (illus.).