Special Exhibition – Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 – 1970 – can you help?

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Published Feb, 2021

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Armoured Faun I, 1968, Albert Tucker, b.1914, d.1999. Image credit: Heide Museum of Modern Art. Copyright Albert & Barbara Tucker Foundation. Courtesy of Smith & Singer Fine Art

The catalogue featured in this article comes from a special art exhibition held in March 1970.  It is a testament to an incredible undertaking by the Arthurs Creek State School Committee to showcase some of the finest Australian artists of the late 20th century with connections to the Arthurs Creek district.

This catalogue was kept in the collection of Bruce Draper, and is now over fifty years old. It is hoped that by sharing it with a wide audience, community members will come forward with memories, photos, newspaper articles, images of artworks or other items that may shed more light on this historic event in the life of the Arthurs Creek community and of the Australian art world.

Tim Russell recalls that his father Brian Russell, who lived at ‘Kangaringa’ on the Hurstbridge Arthurs Creek Road in the early 1970’s, helped to organise an art show to which local artists contributed. He understands it became a valuable collection on display, was featured in newspapers of the day, and security had to be arranged. Do you too have personal or family recollections of this event?

The historic significance of the contributing artists is evident, and it is difficult to imagine from this distance of time that such a substantial collection once stood in the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute at an event arranged in aid of the school next door. The artists involved were: Clifton Pugh, John Perceval, William ‘Jock’ Frater, Albert Tucker, John Serle, John Olsen, Arthur Boyd, John Howley, Charles Blackman, Fred Williams, Frank Werther, Leon Saper, Ian Cuxson, Valerie Strong, Peter Laycock, Helen Laycock, Lucy Dennis, Paul Dennis, Robert Mair, Bruce Davidson, Alma Shanahan and Julia Mair.

As the catalogue’s introduction aptly says, “This is a unique occasion in which artists and potters of the Arthurs Creek district are exhibiting together.

It is a fitting reminder that many of Australia’s major artists have, at some time, found inspiration in and near this area. As some leave, others come to take their place.

The School Committee takes pride and pleasure in presenting this exhibition.”

If you can help source memories, photos, newspaper articles or other items relating to this historic event please get in touch via the Contact Us page. As this article expands to include additional information all individual contributions will be given credit and resources will be shared with local historical societies.

Image of page 1 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 2 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 3 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 4 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 5 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 6 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Image of page 7 of the original 1970 hand-typed catalogue. Artists of the Arthurs Creek District 1953 - 1970. A special Exhibition, in the Mechanics' Institute, arranged by the State School Committee, in aid of the school, 7-9 March 1970.
Echidna, 1968, Clifton Pugh, b.1924, d.1990. Image credit: Australian and New Zealand Art Sales Digest. Copyright all rights reserved. Clifton Pugh 1968
Eltham, 1914, William Jock Frater, b.1890, d.1974. Image credit: Australian and New Zealand Art Sales Digest. Courtesy of Colville Gallery. Copyright William Jock Frater or assignee
The Hull, Williamstown, 1956, John Perceval, b.1923, d.2000. Image credit: Gould Galleries. Copyright all rights reserved. John Perceval 1956
Untitled (Bush), 1966, John Serle, b.1928. Image credit: From the collection of Nillumbik Shire Council, Victorian Collections. Copyright all rights reserved. John Serle 1966
John Olsen with Frank McDonald standing under Summer In The You Beaut Country in 1962. (Supplied: National Gallery of Victoria, David Moore). Image credit: abc.net.au - John Olsen retrospective: More than 100 artworks capture Australian landscape, by Stephanie Ferrier, 15 Sep 2016
The expulsion, 1947-1948, Arthur Boyd, b.1920, d.1999. Image credit: Art Gallery of NSW. Copyright Bundanon Trust
The keeper of skulls, 1973, John Howley, b.1931, d.2020. Image credit: Australian Galleries. Copyright all rights reserved. John Howley 1973
Girl on Park Bench, 1961, Charles Blackman, b.1928, d.2018. Image credit: WikiArt Visual Art Encyclopedia. Copyright all rights reserved. Charles Blackman 1961
Hillside at Lysterfield, 1965-1966, Fred Williams, b.1927, d. 1982. Image credit: Art Gallery of NSW. Copyright Estate of Fred Williams
Bush Homestead, 1965, Frank Werther, b.1922, d.2010. Image credit: Australian and New Zealand Art Sales Digest. Courtesy of Lawsons. Copyright Frank Werther or assignee
Leon Saper residence, 60 Dunmoochin Road, Cottlesbridge, 26 May 1991, Leon Saper, b.1928, d.2005. ‘Dunmoochin’ was the home of the famous artist Clifton Pugh. The house also gives an informal name to the surrounding area at Cottles Bridge where artists, conservationists and like-minded people have made their homes. Information and image credit: Eltham District Historical Society Inc, Victorian Collections
Summer Vibrations, Valerie Strong. In 1962, she married fellow artist John Henry Olsen. If you are able to supply Valerie Strong's birth year or other information please get in touch. Image credit: Tim Olsen Gallery. Copyright all rights reserved. Valerie Strong
Casserole Dish, Helen Laycock, b.1931, d.2011. Image credit: From the collection of Nillumbik Shire Council, Victorian Collections
Milk jug and sugar bowl, 1980’s, Robert Mair, b.1943. Image credit: Australian Pottery at Bemboka
Pale Blue Jug, Bruce Davidson, b.1931. Image credit: From the collection of Nillumbik Shire Council, Victorian Collections
Green Mug, pressed decoration, Alma Shanahan, b.1923, d. 2015. Image credit: From the collection of Nillumbik Shire Council, Victorian Collections

 

 

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