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The collecting cycles and art market trends in Australia from 1995 to 2010 clearly reflected the developments in art markets all around the world. The market for all periods in Australian art peaked in 2007, decreasing by a third before forming a plateau. Primarily, the building of Australian art collections dominated art sales, with only a small percentage of collectors involved in collecting international art. Although the latter was a growing trend, accessibility to the international art market limited this area of collecting.

During this period the collecting base in Australia broadened enormously in all areas of collecting, with Australian modern art (1940–70), contemporary art (1970–to present) and indigenous art being most sought after, exhibited and documented. Generally the market followed the same peaks and troughs seen elsewhere, without experiencing the same meteoric rises from the speculative and hedge fund-based money that were visible in other major centres. Although ...



Alan Gowans


(b Dunedin, 1898; d Toronto, 1982).

Canadian teacher, writer and historian of New Zealand birth. He studied architecture in New Zealand, and after service in World War I, he went to the University of Liverpool in 1919 as the Lord Kitchener National Memorial Scholar. He then emigrated to Canada (1923) and began to teach at the University of Toronto, where he spent almost his entire professional life. Arthur was an ardent supporter of the Modern Movement but also promoted an awareness of Canada’s historic colonial buildings, which were derived from the English Georgian style: the simple lines and sparing ornament typical of such buildings dating from the late 18th century, as described in his book The Early Buildings of Ontario (1938), seemed to anticipate the goals of modern architecture. He was the architect for the restoration in 1937 of St Andrew’s Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and became a pioneer of the conservation movement in Ontario. His survey of Toronto architecture, ...


David Bromfield


Australian art organization active in Perth between 1987–98. The Artist Regional Exchange (ARX) was first conceived during forums held in Auckland as part of ANZART 1985, the last of a series of exchanges between Australian and New Zealand artists. ARX fulfilled the aim of the Australia Council to encourage artistic exchange throughout South-east Asia and provide Perth with a major international exhibition. A committee chaired by John Barrett Lennard, then director of Praxis, developed the proposal and organized a feasibility study. The first co-ordinator, Adrian Jones, was appointed in January 1987. The first ARX was primarily an exchange of ideas, involving performances and the creation of work on site.

In September 1987, ARX presented original work by 40 artists from the region, under the theme Traditions and Narratives, together with a wide range of forums and seminars. Its spontaneous charm and disregard for any pseudo-professional veneer contributed greatly to its success. In Metromania, ARX 2 (...



(b Alderstone, England, Jan 27, 1851; d Bondi, Sydney, April 27, 1942).

Australian painter and writer . He attended the West London School of Art and, following the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1878 the newspaper owner David Syme invited Ashton to Melbourne to produce black-and-white illustrations for the Illustrated Australian News. After a disagreement with the management he transferred to the rival Australasian Sketcher. In 1883 he went to Sydney, where he joined the staff of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia and also contributed to the Sydney Bulletin. Ashton was an ardent disciple of Impressionist painting and claimed to have executed the first plein-air landscape in Australia: Evening, Merri Creek (1882; Sydney, A.G. NSW). Much of his work, as in the watercolour A Solitary Ramble (1888; Sydney, A.G. NSW), had a strong sentimental streak. In addition to his outdoor works Ashton painted a number of portraits, such as that of Helen Ashton...


Terry Smith

(b Bolton, Lancs, May 1, 1935).

Australian painter of English birth. He emigrated to Australia in 1950, settling in the coal and steel town Wollongong, where he worked as a painter and signwriter for 12 years, despite having no formal tuition. In 1964 he moved to Sydney and in 1965 exhibited simple colour studies inspired by the work of Washington Color Painters Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, seen in both travelling exhibitions of American art and art magazine reproduction. Many young Australian artists adopted such mentors: they were interpreted, initially, through the framework of English perceptions of these artists, yet were soon seen more directly and adapted to local needs.

In 1969 Aspden broke with the stripes, circles, bands and grids ubiquitous in 1960s art, favouring ‘torn’ shapes of single colours, intensely hued and set against each other in flowing patchwork or in flashing horizontal runs across the canvas. In size, scale and surety, these paintings rivalled American work of the time. Their emphatically warm colours and vitality conveyed something of the energetic spirit of Sydney and of the eastern coastline of Australia. They reached a climax in the ...


Ian J. Lochhead


(b Christchurch, July 15, 1940; d Wellington, Jan 16, 2015).

New Zealand architect. He studied at the University of Auckland School of Architecture (1961–3) and joined Structon Group Architects, Wellington, in 1963, becoming a partner in 1965. In 1968 he formed Athfield Architects with Ian Dickson (b 1949) and Graeme John Boucher (b 1944). An innovative designer who has continually questioned the orthodoxy of Modernism, Athfield established his reputation with small-scale domestic buildings during the 1970s. Additive plans, fragmented forms and allusions to the traditions of New Zealand colonial architecture characterize designs such as Athfield house, Wellington (begun 1968), and Cox house, Wellington (1975). Often clinging to precarious sites, his houses respond directly to the landscape. Athfield works closely with clients, often involving them in the construction process. In 1976 he won first prize in the International Competition for the Urban Environment of Developing Countries, Manila, Philippines, with a community-based project for rehousing Manila slum dwellers....


John Stacpoole

City in New Zealand. It is situated on a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the north of the country’s North Island. The city is an important port, with harbours on both sides of the isthmus. It is New Zealand’s largest centre of commerce and industry, with a metropolitan population of c. 900,000. European settlement began in 1840, when the British Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson chose the isthmus as the site for the capital of the new colony of New Zealand. In 1841 the Surveyor General drew up an elaborate town plan, but the unfavourable topography and early economic conditions meant that little of it was executed, although considerable foresight was shown then and subsequently in setting aside areas of parkland. The most significant surviving buildings of the early colonial period are the Old Government House (1855–7) by William Mason and Hulme Court (...


Tamara Lucas and Jeremy Coote

[Tubuai Islands]

Archipelago, including the islands of Rurutu and Raivavaé, in the south-west Pacific (see also Rapa). The Austral Islands are part of French Polynesia, of which the capital is Papeete on Tahiti in the Society Islands. Although colonization did not begin until the London Missionary Society established a hold in the 1820s, conversion to Christianity was fast and much of the traditional culture, including material culture, was destroyed. At the same time diseases and epidemics brought by the colonists caused population numbers to plummet. Thus little survives today of what was evidently once an exceptionally rich and highly skilled artistic culture. Indeed, it has become increasingly apparent that many of the finest art objects from central Polynesia originated in the Austral Islands. This makes the lack of a continuing tradition and of significant historical documentation even more unfortunate. Some archaeological research has been carried out especially at the marae...


Terry Smith, Michael Spens, Graeme Sturgeon, Terence Lane, Kevin Fahy, Margaret Legge, Geoffrey R. Edwards, Judith O’Callaghan, Jennifer Sanders, Nancy Underhill, Robert Smith and Joyce McGrath

Country and island continent. It is the world’s smallest continent (area c. 8.5 million sq. km), located between the Indian and Pacific oceans south of South-east Asia, in latitudes parallel to those of the Sahara Desert (see fig.). With an average elevation of only 300 m, Australia is also the lowest continent, its ancient landforms being heavily eroded. The most prominent feature is the Great Dividing Range, the highlands of which run the full length of eastern Australia and recur in the island of Tasmania; in the western half of the continent are extensive plateaux and ridges, with vast desert areas in the centre. The extreme north is tropical, lying within the monsoon belt north of the Tropic of Capricorn; off the north-eastern coast is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef. Australia has extensive coastal plains and tablelands, those along the east coast being the most heavily populated parts of the country; the vegetation is typically dry, open woodland dominated by eucalypts. The Australian Aboriginal peoples arrived ...


From the 1990s onwards, Australian contemporary art experienced significant growth in exhibition venues, both quantitatively, in terms of the number and scale of available spaces, and qualitatively, in terms of their scope, ambition and critical impact. The boom in physical exhibition spaces including museums, artist spaces, and commercial and non-profit galleries on the one hand and, on the other, the boom in such event-based institutions as biennales, triennials and festivals is consistent with global trends but also sits within the more general process of increasing confidence and internationalization of Australian art and its institutions that has been under way since the late 1960s. As such, these changes were a response to the country’s specific geographical and cultural conditions, and to shifts within art practice itself. It is important to note, however, that they have been neither constant nor consistent, and have involved significant challenges at the level of sustainability.

Australia was a relative latecomer to dedicated institutional support for contemporary art, with the country’s first and only public contemporary art museum opening in Sydney in ...


As late as the early 1990s, it seemed to many Australian art critics that a multicultural, appropriation-based Post-modernism would constitute a distinctively Australian contribution to art (see Tillers, Imants). However, by the mid-1990s, for reasons at the same time political, economic and simply artistic, it was no longer possible to reduce the art made at the so-called periphery (in Australia) and art created at the so-called centre (at the traditional North Atlantic hubs of art production and consumption) to relationships between Post-modern (even post-colonial) copies and North Atlantic originals. Post-modernism as a coherent framework for explaining either Australian or international art was finished.

Post-modernism as a period style or broad, umbrella movement was now periodized in revisionist texts (such as Rex Butler’s book, What is Appropriation, 1996, and Charles Green’s book, Peripheral Visions, 1995) and by a resurgent political conservatism after 1996 that was prosecuted in fierce ‘Culture Wars’ already familiar from the US. Post-modernism in art was replaced—so an emerging art critical consensus began to hold—with a new term that attained a currency so ubiquitous it became self-evident: contemporary art. The usage of the word ‘contemporary’ was definite and different (as argued in T. Smith’s book, ...


While the main public art museums in Australia are to be found in its capital cities (see Australia §XII), throughout Australia there are over 160 regional art galleries, which are owned and funded by local and state governments. As well as displaying their own permanent collections, these art galleries have extensive exhibition programmes that include major national and international travelling exhibitions, together with community-based art shows. As Australia’s landmass is greater than Europe but with a relatively small population (22.68 million), this is an excellent way of taking art to people in country towns, isolated communities, and the hinterland of major cities. Regional galleries have outstanding art collections, acquired through philanthropic endowment and the Federal Government’s taxation concessions for cultural gifts. These collections constitute a significant percentage of the country’s Distributed National Art Collection and include key paintings in the history of Australian art.

Although some regional galleries date from the 19th century, there were still only seven in existence in ...


(b San Biagio di Callalta, nr Treviso, May 19, 1939; d Melbourne, Aug 9, 1978).

Australian sculptor and draughtsman . After spending his childhood in Italy, he moved to Australia (1949). From 1958 to 1961 he was at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He travelled to London in 1962, where he studied printmaking at the Chelsea School of Arts. He then travelled to Milan and studied sculpture under Marino Marini at the Accademia di Belle Arti. After his return to Melbourne, he had his first one-man show of sculptures and etchings at the Argus Gallery in 1964. Many of his etchings of this period and later included circus characters and were inspired by the films of Ingmar Bergman and Luis Buñuel. Bergman’s Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), for example, has the violent distortion of the human figure characteristic of Baldessin’s series Stars and Sawdust and Stars and Sawdust II (1963; T. Baldessin priv. col., see 1983 exh. cat., pl. 9). His early sculptures also had distorted and tormented figures, as in ...


(b Bothenhampton, Dorset, Aug 12, 1890; d Sydney, 1964).

Australian painter . After spending his early life in England, he moved to Sydney (1913). He began painting in 1922 and at the same time started work as a painter-decorator, a job he did until his retirement in 1956. During the 1920s he attended evening classes at the Sydney Art School under Julian Rossi Ashton. His artistic career did not really begin until 1934 when he participated in life classes with the Australian painters Frank Hinder (b 1906), Grace Crowley (1890–1979) and Rah Fizelle (1891–1964) at the Crowley–Fizelle art school in Sydney. When the school closed in 1937 he continued to paint with Crowley at her studio. In August 1939 Balson took part with Crowley, Hinder, Fizelle and others in the important Exhibition I show at the David Jones Gallery in Sydney. The works exhibited were all semi-abstract, largely influenced by Cubism, and included Balson’s ...


Howard Morphy



Jeanette Hoorn

(b Bushy Creek, Victoria, c. 1824; d Coranderrk, Aug 15, 1903).

Australian Aboriginal painter and leader of the Wurundjeri people of Woi-Worung. His ancestral country was that surrounding the Yarra River and Port Phillip in Melbourne. He was related to the signatories of Batman’s Treaty of 1835 in which the Woi-Worung are thought to have ceded their land to the British Crown. Educated by Presbyterian missionaries, Barak fought a succession of governments who acted in the interests of pastoralists, in an effort to maintain the land that had been ‘granted’ to them at Coranderrk, near Healesville in Victoria.

Barak drew and painted in a figurative style on cardboard and thick paper, in charcoal, pencil, ochre, natural dyes and watercolour wash. His paintings detail the ceremonial lives of his community with many works showing the configurations associated with corroborees. Native animals including lyrebirds emus, snakes and echidnas are prominently represented in his compositions. A feature of his pictures is the extraordinary detail of the patterning found in the individual costumes of Wurundjeri and, in particular, the fine possum cloaks worn by them. Few of these original garments still exist but Barak’s paintings have inspired contemporary indigenous artists such as Treahna Hamm (...


Gordon Campbell

Unwoven cloth made from the bast (inner bark) of a tree. It is also known as ‘tapa’, with reference to the Polynesian bark cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and used for clothing. There is a huge collection of Polynesian bark cloth in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. In sub-Saharan Africa bark cloth was traditionally decorated with free-hand painting applied with grass brushes, and was used for room-dividers and screens as well as clothing. Its widest application was in Japan, where bark cloth was used for windows, screens, kites, flags and umbrellas.

L. Terrell and J. Terrell: Patterns of Paradise: The Styles of Bark Cloth around the World (Chicago, 1980)M. J. Pritchard: Siapo: Bark Cloth Art of Samoa...


Peter Bridges

(b Almerclose, Scotland, Oct 17, 1827; d Sydney, Dec 17, 1904).

Australian architect of Scottish birth. He studied at the School of Design in London and emigrated to Sydney in 1854. After working for Edmund Blacket, he joined the New South Wales Colonial Architect’s Office as a clerk of works in 1860; in 1862 he was appointed Colonial Architect, responsible for all public buildings in the state except railway structures and schools. The period 1860 to 1890 was one of expansion, and under Barnet’s leadership more than 1000 new public buildings were erected. Strongly influenced by the work of Charles Robert Cockerell, Barnet developed an identifiable ‘house style’ with imposing Italianate designs that were well suited to their official status. His major works in Sydney, including the Australian Museum (1864), the arcaded General Post Office (1866–86), the Lands Department (1876–90) with an onion-domed clock–tower and the Customs House (1885) in trabeated classical style, were landmarks that changed a provincial town into a Victorian city. On a smaller scale, his court houses and post offices are still distinguished features of many country towns. An outstanding organizer, he designed and built the huge Garden Palace (...


Miles Lewis

Australian architectural partnership formed in 1926 by Edward A(rthur) Bates (b 1865; d 1931), Charles P. Smart (d 1950) and Osborn McCutcheon (b 1899), successors (after a number of changes in the composition and name of the firm) to Reed, Henderson and Smart, the firm originally set up by Melbourne’s most prominent 19th-century architect, Joseph Reed. The earliest building of note for the partnership was the AMP Society building (1928), which was awarded the Street Architecture Medal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects. Its first major building outside Victoria was the MLC Assurance building, Sydney (1935) and it was not until after World War II that the practice evolved to become one of the two largest corporate offices in Melbourne and pioneered curtain-walling in Australia with the MLC building in Perth (1955) and ICI House (1958...