Charles Blackman was born in Sydney on 12 August 1928. He left school at thirteen and worked as an illustrator with the Sydney Sun newspaper while attending night classes at East Sydney Technical College (1943-46) under Hayward Veal. Etching House is proud to carry and sell his works for some time now, Charles has stoped painting for some time now. In 1946-8 he met Lois Hunter, a poet from New Zealand and a member of the Wellington avant-garde, who introduced him to the work of many writers and artists, including Arthur Rimbaud and T.S.Eliot. He also met Barbara Patterson, another poet, who became his wife in 1951. Blackman moved to Melbourne in 1950 where he married Barbara, worked as a cook and practiced his art when he could. His situation changed when he received the patronage of John Reed- leading to several exhibitions. This was the time he painted his series Schoolgirls & Alice in Wonderland. In 1959 he was a signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto, a statement protesting the dominance of abstract expressionism. The Antipodeans were a group of 7 Australian figurative artists which included Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, John Perceval and Clifton Pugh. Art historian Bernard Smith was an eighth member All except Dickerson were Melbourne-based. In 1960-64 he travelled overseas after winning the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship. Blackman spent quite some time in London and his work was included in the Whitechapel and Tate Gallery exhibitions in London, both of which helped to make the greater world familiar with the existence of contemporary Australian art. In 1965 a tour of northern France and Flanders led to a series of tapestries woven in Portugal, which were shown in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. In the 1970s his paintings of cats and gardens inspired by Proust’s writings revealed a softening of vision.
Copyright © CHARLES BLACKMAN