An image of Untitled

Tony Tuckson

(Egypt, England, Australia 18 Jan 1921 – 24 Nov 1973)


Other titles:
Pale yellow with charcoal lines, Untitled (Pale yellow with charcoal lines), TP198a
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

'He shows the making of a painting with all the travail fully exposed, without prettification or pretence ... there is something almost shocking in the completeness of the exposure'. James Gleeson, April 1973

Tony Tuckson is admired as one of Australia's finest abstract expressionist painters. From the late 1950s, he used increasingly simplified forms and restricted colour to concentrate on the act of painting. While absorbing developments in European and American abstraction, and admiring the work of fellow Australian artist Ian Fairweather, Tuckson's approach may be most strongly allied to his lifelong interest in Aboriginal and Melanesian art.

Working as Deputy Director of this Gallery from the 1950s to 1973, Tuckson painted prodigiously in private. During his lifetime, his artistic career was almost completely overshadowed by his art museum profession. His belated first solo exhibition was held in 1970 at Watters Gallery, Sydney and his second in 1973 - a few months before his premature death at the age of 52.

Painted during this late period, this work presents a surface animated by broad, lyrical brushstrokes. Layers of paint in subdued hues have been built up on the hardboard surface. A long, narrow section of the composition is left unpainted, revealing the raw board beneath. This vertical strip, which is reminiscent of a Barnett Newman 'zip' - and which is echoed in the charcoal lines drawn upon the painted surface - brings a host of allusions into play with the painting.

synthetic polymer paint and charcoal on hardboard
214.0 x 122.5 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 2013
Accession number
© The estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency