Is Australia a creative place on earth?

Life and career of famous Australian artists.

©Comstock Images/Thinkstock

There were many famous Australian artists from the 1900’s that drew in many different styles. One group that influenced Australian Art were the Angry Penguins. They were a group of painters that established the modernist movement in Melbourne Australia. The group challenged tradition and sought to modernize the creative arts that were restrictive in the 1940’s. They were an angry and passionate group of artists rebels of the time.

The Angry Penguins were influenced by surrealism and French symbolism. They strove to give Australian artists more creative ways to express themselves. The group of writers and artists met regularly at a central meeting place the home of a wealthy patron John and Sunday Reed Heide.

Arthur Boyd was a master painter, potter, and graphic artist. He came from a talented family of artists. Boyd served in the Australian Army during World War II. In 1944, he established a pottery workshop at Murrumbeerna and made ceramics until 1955. He made figures of angels, pottery and other objects. Boyd began painting at a very early age. He is known for his landscapes and observation of aboriginal tribes. When he purchased a piece of property by the Shoalham River, he painted many scenes of this area.

Albert Tucker was an Australian artist and member of the Heide Circle. They were a group of modern artists and writers He was not trained formally but went three night a week to The Victorian Artists Society taking life drawing classes. Tucker is a post impressionist and social realist artist. He is known for drawing patients from the war suffering from wounds and mental illness.

Tucker is known for unsettling art that depicted the seamier side of life. His work showed fear, trauma,and struggle. He made his own paints often experimenting with color and new ideas. He was primarily self taught and learned art techniques from the group the Angry Penguins. During World War II he sketched for a medical team .

Later Tucker went through a period of painting religious themes and women of the streets. When he turned to painting landscapes of Australia, he depicted the theme as hopeless and inhospitable. His painting showed scenes of moral decay and declining values. He received a Kurt Geiger Award from the Museum of Modern Art.

Sidney Nolan was an Australian outback painter known for his detailed historical painting with dark moody themes. He painted many historical figures like bush ranger Ned Kelly. His paintings gave stories of exploration and travel an air of timelessness. He studied occasionally at art school. Nolan love literature and poetry. He was influenced by modernist artists like Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, and Herman Matisse. He illustrated books and designed sets for ballet and opera.

Joy Hester was the only woman artist that belonged to The Angry Penguins. She joined the Contemporary Art Society in Melbourne in the 1930’s. She liked to draw rather than paint using brush and ink. This labeled her as a casual but not a serious artist. She drew portraits of people’s faces focusing on the eyes expressing emotion. She drew many portraits of friends and family during 1946-1947.

She was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease and she left her husband to live with artist Gary Smith in Sydney. Over the next two years, she produced her best work paintings of children and men and women in intimate situations. She also wrote poetry.

John Perceval was an artist that lived from 1923 to 2000. He had little formal training for art. He began drawing in high school copying and studying famous artists. He enlisted in the army where he met Arthur Boyd another member ot the Angry Penguins. During his time in the Army he served as draftsmen this was where he met John Boyd another member of Angry Penguins.

Many of his painting were known for their religious and mystical qualities. He painted many landscapes and seascapes of Australia. He illustrated the people and places of Melbourne his painting often having social themes. He ended his career with landscapes that had a childlike carefree tone. He was the last member of the Angry Penguins. He suffered from polio, mental illness, and alcoholism during his lifetime.

If you are now interested in buying Australian artwork, check out this retailer for online art.


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news directly in your email inbox.