NAIDOC WEEK 2020

We wish to acknowledge NAIDOC Week (8 – 15 November) with this year’s theme ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE. We encourage you to support and celebrate NAIDOC Week events near you. For further details go to www.naidoc.org.au

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples. Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Charles Blackman

Charles Blackman OBE 1928 – 2018 Portrait of a Young Girl with a Bow in her Hair
charcoal on paper on composition board. 50.8 x 38.4 cm
Copyright the Estate of Charles Blackman

Charles Blackman is one of Australia’s most celebrated and significant figurative artists and was an exceptional draughtsperson. His use of pen and ink, charcoal and pencil – from quick sketches to large sized works on paper – was a constant throughout his life. His drawings bear evidence of the personal nature of his art, used to record ideas, capture daily life, and explore composition in an expressive manner. There is, of course, an immediacy to drawings, particularly black and white images with no distractions other than the dark line across a page. 

The 1960s saw Blackman complete a number of strong graphic works, many depicting his family, particularly with the arrival of his son Auguste in 1957 and daughter, Christabel, in 1959. In 1960 Blackman was awarded the Helena Rubenstein prize and selected to exhibit in the Whitechapel Gallery in London, where the Blackman family moved before returning to Australia in 1967, when this drawing was completed.

Portrait of a Young Girl with a Bow in her Hair is a direct and sweet work, full of love and the innocence of childhood, with the child directly engaging the viewer. There is a calm and gentleness to the drawing, perhaps emphasized through the use of charcoal with its richness of texture and softer edge than pen or pencil. As McCulloch noted when the work was exhibited in 1994, “Interesting to contrast is 1967’s Young Girl with a Bow with 1984’s Beatrice Drawing on Herself – both drawings of his two daughters at the same age. The latter has a saccharine sweetness absent in the earlier, more direct but equally delicious work.” (Susan McCulloch, ‘The bush characters’, Herald Sun, Melbourne, 20 April 1994, p. 7)

Blackman is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and in all state galleries, as well as numerous regional and university galleries, in addition to private and corporate collections throughout Australia and internationally. He was awarded an OBE in 1997 and honoured with a survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Schoolgirls and Angels, in 1993.

Further information:

Read more about this artwork
Charles Blackman Biography
Charles Blackman artworks in the stockroom

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Hans Heysen

Hans Heysen Morning Break 1922
Hans Heysen Morning Break 1922

“There is something immensely exhilarating when tall white gums tower into the blue heavens – the subtle quality of the edges where they meet the sky – how mysterious.”
Carrol, A., North, I., and Treganza, J., Hans Heysen Centenary Retrospective 1877 – 1977, Art Gallery Board of South Australia, 1977, p.12

This striking watercolour highlights the majesty of the Australian gum tree rising even beyond the picture plane and is typical of Heysen’s celebrated landscapes, many painted around his home in Hahndorf where his conservation efforts continue to be enjoyed at The Cedars today. Heysen had a passion for depicting such ancient trees, especially with a glow filtering through the branches, providing a contrast between light and shadow. The resting figure and quiet horses lend a calm atmosphere and give perspective to the heroic trees.

Read more about Hans Heysen and Morning Break.

Congratulations Genevieve Loy – Ravenswood finalist

We are really excited that indigenous artist Genevieve Kemarr Loy has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, an annual prize that was launched in 2017 to advance art and opportunity for emerging and established female artists in Australia. It is the highest value professional artist prize for women in Australia.

The current global situation has meant a delay in the exhibition which is now scheduled to open 27 November, showing until 12 December at the Ravenswood School for Girls, Gordon, NSW. As their website mentions, although up to 70% of art school graduates are female, women artists make up less than half of represented artists in exhibitions and prizes around Australia, with State museums showing 34% of female artists amongst their collections. This is something many galleries are continuing to address. The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize provides a platform to promote female visual artists, assisting in career development, providing opportunities for greater connections and inspiring current students.

Genevieve follows the tradition of her grandmother, Nancy Kunoth Petyarr and was taught to paint by her father, Cowboy Loy Pwerl, an indigenous elder in Utopia and custodian of the Bush Turkey Dreaming. On a superficial level Genevieve’s often paintings depict the tracks the Bush Turkey makes as it searches for seeds and other ‘tucker’ and makes its way to the waterhole. Genevieve’s complex and detailed paintings are characterised by a beautiful and careful handling of paint; a harmonious sense of colour; and great control of the delicate spidery marks that make their way across her canvas. Her meticulous lines can be difficult to read in a digital reproduction and are best understood and appreciated in person.

Read more about Genevieve on our site or view available works in the Stockroom. Please contact the Gallery for any further details. Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is currently open by appointment.

Genevieve Kemarr Loy Bush Turkey Tracks 2020 synthetic polymer on linen 150 x 121.5 cm

D’art documentary – film festival viewing 2020

Congratulations to all involved in making the D’art movie, a rollicking ride resulting in a vintage Goggomobil Dart car painted in artist Robert Clinch’s signature paper darts. Filmmaker Karl von Möller is deservedly recognised with the work’s inclusion in the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival for 2020, opening 30 June. Enjoy watching from the comfort of your own home, as the Festival will be online this year, with possible screenings scheduled for December.

Things are already off to a great start with US site Documentary Drive exclaiming:

“From its opening sequence, “D’art” commands your attention with its zappy swing music and montage of fine artist Robert Clinch launching paper darts into the air as collector Jeff Brown puts on a fire retardant suit and whooshes down a racetrack. 

You know their two worlds are about to meet. You don’t know how or why but you know it’s going to be a sensational adventure and you want to come along for the ride.

Directed by Karl von Möller, “D’art” raises the bar on what a film about art can be.”

For now, we hope you enjoy watching the film online; explore more about the D’art exhibition or peruse Robert’s paintings and works on paper.

The Gallery is currently open by appointment and we look forward to showing you Robert’s work.

Robert Clinch D'art exhibition
Robert Clinch D’art exhibition, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art

Congratulations to Yvonne Audette AM

219023 Yvonne Audette Cantata Giubilante

We are delighted that the recent Queen’s Birthday honours saw Yvonne Audette awarded the AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for her significant services as one of Australia’s leading abstract artists.

Audette undertook early studies in Sydney at the Julian Ashton School with Henry Gibbons and then from 1951 with John Passmore, who was to inspire her with his grater emphasis on colour and building a composition through geometric building blocks, influenced by Cezanne. She furthered her academic learning at the East Sydney Technical School with Lyndon Dadswell, as well as drawing sessions with Godfrey Miller, his abstract focus entwined with a personal mysticism. On the completion of her studies, Audette travelled and, unlike the traditional European tour, she started in America, living in New York at a time when abstract expressionism was just coming to the fore through the work of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky and Mark Tobey, among others. In 1955, Audette travelled to Europe, settling in Italy where she remained for more than a decade, taking in the influence of European abstraction and developing her own unique language based on a wide variety of experiences, including encounters of contemporary art as well as diverse periods from both east and western art history through her extensive travels.

A dedicated artist, Audette actively sought to surround and expose herself to contemporary art sources, experiences and teachers in order to absorb and redefine her own unique oeuvre. Her creative output undergoes rigorous examination, with later work referring to and reenergised by earlier constructions. Her abstraction is complex, deliberate and carefully constructed, although there is an element of intuition, with the formal construct often based on capturing the essence of a sensation, season or place. Much of her drawing and painting relates to music, a natural fit being a synthesis of discipline and creativity. Yvonne continues to paint, draw and teach, inspiring students with her experience and enthusiasm.

The 2014 monograph about Audette’s work summarises her artistic development as a “peripatetic journey that began with an ambitious young student going between her distinctively different, somewhat misanthropic but always inspiring teachers. Then there was her shift from Sydney to New York, and the maturation of her work in Italy, a cultural environment beautifully encrusted by the past yet enlivened by modern panache. In mid-career she uprooted herself from all this to return to her city of birth, only to abandon it again for the high pocket of forest growth that became the private space that nurtured her later work.” (Heathcote & Bruce, 2014, p. 173)

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is proud to include Yvonne’s artwork in our current exhibition of Innovative Australian Women and looks forward to showcasing an exhibition of her work planned for later this year.

D’ART: the movie – screening Melbourne 8 Sep & Sydney 22 Sep 2019

September screenings of D’ART The Artist, The Collector and a Goggomobil Dart as the canvas

Following this unique and intriguing project resulting in a painted art car, unveiled at our exhibition in 2017, relive the excitement and watch the project come to life with a new documentary movie created by Karl von Möller.

The iconic Goggomobil Dart car painted with distinctive painted paper darts by artist Robert Clinch created a unique objet d’art. Classic car collector Jeff Brown, son of renowned art dealer Joseph Brown, whose collection is a highlight of the National Gallery of Victoria, collaborated with Clinch to conceive the project. The paper dart has become a recognised feature throughout Robert’s hyper-real paintings and works on paper depicting urban Melbourne. No two darts on the car are the same, and narratives present themselves through the various groupings, telling a multitude of stories over the surface of the car.

The Goggomobil was named and designed by Bill Buckle in the 1960s who thought ‘Dart’ summed up the streamlined little sports car. The sense of flight and fun implied by paper darts is a perfect fit for the Dart car.

The Goggomobil – spelt G-O-G-G-O – became a household name through a memorable advertising campaign featuring Tommy Dysart.

These key figures in the history of the Dart and the realisation of the remarkable art project, feature in the movie.

SCREENING in MELBOURNE Sunday 8th September 2pm at Cinema Classic Elsternwick with Q&A session and the D’art car on view

SCREENING in SYDNEY Sunday 22nd September 6.30pm at Cinema Ritz Randwick with Q&A session

Featuring: Robert Clinch, Jeff Brown, Bill Buckle, Tommy Dysart, Joan Brockenshire, David Thomas, Lauraine Diggins, Gerard Vaughan, Annie Brown, Bill Hemming, Paul Faulkner, Michael Schoenfeld and Beverley Clinch.

Director: Karl von Möller

Click here to see artworks by Robert Clinch.

Goggo D'art car Image Karl von Moller
Goggo D’art car Image Karl von Moller

Robert Clinch Study for D'art project
Robert Clinch Study for D’art project

Australian ceramic artist Stephen Bowers discusses influences on his art in Ceramic Review.

Finding shards of blue and white china as a child shaped Stephen Bowers’ successful career as an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist . Read of his influences in “Potters on Pots” in the Ceramic Review.

StephenBowers Ceramic Review Issue 298 July/August 2019

Ceramic Review Issue 298 July/August 2019

Stephen’s work is also currently the feature of an installation at the Roche Foundation in Adelaide – his opulent pieces distributed throughout the Roche collection of antiques and decorative arts, providing an opportunity for dialogue, juxtaposition and surprise.

Bijou – an installation by Stephen Bowers as part of the South Australian Living Artists Festival 2019 is on show until 5 October 2019.

To view artworks by Stephen Bowers currently available please visit our website.

The Melbourne Fair : come and visit us from 8th – 11th August 2019

We are pleased to again participate in The Melbourne Fair at the Caulfield Racecourse with a preview Gala Opening on Thursday 8th August.

Featuring a selection of Arts, Antiques, Jewellery, Books, Vintage Fashion and more.

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art will showcase Australian painting, sculpture, decorative arts and works on paper, with artists including  Yvonne Audette, Stephen Bowers, Rupert Bunny, Gus Dall’Ava, Max Dupain, Emanuel Phillips Fox, John Glover, Janet Green, Mike Green, Hans Heysen, Percy Lindsay, Michael McWilliams, Ambrose Patterson, Andrew Sayers, Roland Wakelin, Zhou Xiaoping a selection of indigenous painting from Utopia.

We have a limited number of complimentary tickets for both the Gala and general entry, so please do contact us to secure your tickets for The Melbourne Fair 2019. Telephone 03 9509 9855 or email ausart@diggins.com.au

Thursday   8th August     6pm – 9pm   Gala Opening
Friday         9th August     11am – 6pm
Saturday    10th August   10am – 6pm
Sunday      11th August    10am – 5pm

https://themelbournefair.com.au

Vale Lauraine Diggins OAM

It is with great sorrow and sadness Lauraine Diggins Fine Art advises of the death of our Gallery Founder and Director Lauraine Diggins OAM on 19thof April 2019. It has been a long cherished hope of Lauraine’s that the Gallery she created continues to provide into the future the same knowledge, passion and integrity for which Lauraine herself has been for so long admired and respected. This is a task to which Ruth Lovell, Gallery Manager, and Nerida Blanche, daughter and Assistant Gallery Manager and Michael Blanche, husband and Gallery Director, look to all the Gallery’s friends and supporters to help us to achieve.

We pay tribute to Lauraine and recognise and celebrate her dedication to the arts in Australia, most recently acknowledged by her award of the OAM in the Australia Day Honours, 26 January 2019 for her service to the museums and galleries sector.

Michael Blanche, Lauraine Diggins and Nerida Blanche
at Lauraine’s investiture for her OAM 2019

The life of Gallery founder and Director, Lauraine Diggins OAM
will be honoured with a public memorial service on

Monday 17th June 2019
1.30pm for 2pm

The Pavilion
Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
RSVP your acceptance here

Lauraine’s professional involvement in Australian art commenced in 1974, with her acquisition, almost on a whim, of Bartoni Gallery in South Yarra. It was obviously the right calling as she flourished and developed into the highly respected dealer of today. The early 1980s saw Lauraine compiling expansive exhibitions of Australian art showing from her home in North Caulfield before establishing a purpose-built gallery for Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in 1988 designed with architect Graeme Gunn, providing an environment of discretion, contemplation and warmth, opening with the exhibition The Antipodeans: Another Chapter.

Lauraine Diggins Bartoni Gallery
Lauraine’s confident, engaging manner, matched with an extraordinary work ethic, paved her success in securing and placing a great number of significant artworks in both private and public collections, including all the major Australian public institutions: National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery; National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of Western Australia; Art Gallery of South Australia; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Museums and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; National Library of Australia; State Library of Victoria; as well as many regional & university collections Australia-wide, and private collections internationally and throughout Australia.

Her support of artists encompassed relationships and exhibitions from those just starting their career to others firmly established in the canons of Australian art history.

Her concern for providing a rounded experience for clients, from the private, corporate and institutional spheres, led many to becoming lifelong friends.

Gallery exhibitions have highlighted individual artists including: Nora Heysen, Constance Stokes, Emily Kngwarray, Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd, Tom Gleghorn, Lawrence Daws, Ronald Millar, Fred Williams, Charles Blackman, Mark Strizic, Kathleen, Poly and Angelina Ngal, Nancy Kunoth Petyarr, Richard Crichton, Cowboy Loy Pwerl, Mike Green, Janet Green, Jeff Makin, Gloria Petyarr, Dianne Coulter, Andrew Rogers, Ivan Durrant, Fraser Fair, Helmut Lueckenhausen, Katherine Hattam, John Dent, Andrea Hylands, Stephen Bowers, Deborah Walker, Michael McWilliams, Andrew Sayers, Robert Clinch, Peter Walsh, Grant Donaldson, Xiaoping Zhou, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray, Peter Churcher, Genevieve Kemarr Loy  and Lorraine White.

However, perhaps the highest acclaim came for her carefully curated Collectors’survey shows featuring Australian art encompassing colonial, impressionist, modern, contemporary and Indigenous painting, sculpture, works on paper and decorative arts featuring works by revered masters including John Glover, Henry Burn, Eugene von Guerard, Abram Louis Buvelot, Thomas Clark, Isaac Whitehead, Haughton Forrest, Nicholas Chevalier, Charles Douglas Richardson, Walter Withers, Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Emma Minnie Boyd, Jane Price, Clara Southern, Arthur Boyd Snr, Rupert Bunny, David Davies, Emanuel Phillips Fox, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Leon Pole, George Lambert, Ethel Carrick Fox, Margaret Preston, Hans Heysen, Bessie Davidson, Elioth Gruner, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Clarice Beckett, Roland Wakelin, Dorrit Black, Ian Fairweather, Grace Cossington Smith, Lloyd Rees, Danila Vassilieff, Horace Trenerry, Albert Namatjira, Emily Kngwarray, Paddy Bedford, Russell Drysdale, Robert Dickerson, Albert Tucker, James Gleeson, Donald Friend, Sidney Nolan, John Brack, Arthur Boyd, Ray Crooke, John Perceval, David Boyd, Margaret Olley, Rover Thomas, Fred Williams,  John Olsen, Charles Blackman, Marea Gazzard, George Baldessin, Brett Whiteley, Robert Jacks, Lin Onus, Augustus Dall’Ava, Robert Baines, Terry Yumbulul, Susan Wraight, Peter Schipperheyn, William Eicholtz.

Myriad of Dreaming catalogue cover
Myriad of Dreaming catalogue cover

With her expertise and knowledge, Lauraine has assisted to bring a greater appreciation of Australian art to international attention with two exhibitions at the China Club, Hong Kong; SOFA Chicago; Australian Modern in Milan (2002); Memory as Landscape October Gallery, London (2005); ArtParis (2004-05-06) and the Moscow World Fine Art Fair (2008). Lauraine curated the milestone exhibition Myriad of Dreaming in 1989, which was accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue. This seminal publication does much to explain the visual language of indigenous art and was used by the Melbourne Olympic bid for presentation to each of the Olympic delegates.

This passion for scholarship was partly out of respect for the integrity of each artwork but also her desire to provide an educative focus, an element emphasised through the Gallery website and publications, in particular the Collectors’ Exhibitions. Almost in spite of being a commercial gallery, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art hosts exhibitions which aim to not only promote Australian art but grow our understanding, with important and varied artworks and engaging expert writers and speakers. Her desire to share her expertise and knowledge in this educational way saw her write and speak in numerous forums, as well as developing the first private comprehensive course on the study of Australian art in 1992.

From 2000 – 2004, Lauraine represented the Aboriginal community, the Artists of Ampilatwatja and the Gallery continues to work with select artists from Utopia in central Australia, the area where the internationally celebrated artist Emily Kngwarray hailed from and an area of personal passion for Lauraine. The Gallery’s promotion of artists from Utopia through exhibitions both in Australia and internationally has brought their work to greater attention of collectors worldwide and led to the commission of Gloria Petyarr’s design for a scarf by the famous fashion house Hermes, the only Australian artist to be honoured in this way. Lauraine wore one of these scarves to her OAM investiture.

Lauraine was instrumental in establishing a partnership arrangement with Australian Unity to provide a food care and garden program in Utopia. Her love of indigenous art was the focus of an exhibition at Deakin University, An Individual Perspective, highlighting works from her personal collection (2009).

Her involvement in the arts extended beyond her Gallery walls, being an expert assessor for the government’s Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act and the Cultural Gifts Program. Memberships included the Australian Antique and Art Dealers’ Association; the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia; the Art Consulting Association of Australia; signatory to the Indigenous Art Code; Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation; Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation; founder benefactor National Gallery of Victoria Foundation; foundation Member of the Queensland Art Gallery and National Gallery of Australia’s Foundations; Life Member, Shepparton Art Gallery and a member of all Australian state galleries. Lauraine was a board member of the National Gallery of Victoria Foundation from 1990 – 94. She was invited to be a patron of Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in 2002, having previously been a member of their art advisory board. She was an Industry Partner with The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Strategic Partnerships with Industry – Research and Training Scheme “Authentication of Australian Art – Artists’ Supports”, 2000 and a member of I-Leap, the Indigenous Leadership, Excellence and Achievement Program. She supported universities, in particular Deakin and Melbourne, through guest lecture series and board positions.

Lauraine Diggins at Buller
Lauraine Diggins at Buller

Outside of the arts, Lauraine’s interests and passions were never mere hobbies but integral to her life, and, never one to do things by halves, led to her involvement in a diverse range of pursuits: from skiing (coordinating St Catherine’s ski team) to opera (board member of Melbourne Opera) to dance (especially the Australian Ballet) to health and fitness (committee member for Women@TheAlfred) to wine (part owner of Scotchmans Hill) to horses (an avid equestrian from childhood), and unquestionably, dogs, which she was never without and which brought her such joy. She was an active member of the Lyceum Club and her adventurous spirit and passion for travel inspired experiences in numerous countries. However, her most treasured spot was the south coast of NSW, spending time with family and friends.

Lauraine inherited an interest in football from her father, Brighton Diggins, who was the first captain and playing coach to win a premiership at Carlton in 1938, as well as being a member of the South Melbourne Swans 1933 premiership team. Lauraine was the first female elected to the Carlton board in 2002 and remained a Director of the Carlton Football Club and Director of the Carlton Cricket and Football Social Club, including a year as Vice President, until early 2007.

Prior to becoming an art dealer Lauraine graduated as an Occupational Therapist, working for a period in this field and maintaining lifelong friendships within the group she studied with. She also worked for a time for the Australian Tourist Commission.

Of course the most influential and important aspect of her life was family and we acknowledge the profound loss to her husband Michael, daughter Nerida, son-in-law Aidan and grandchildren Luca and Camille. Our heartfelt thoughts are with them.

Lauraine was a generous, inspiring and formidable woman and very much the embodiment of ‘Lauraine Diggins Fine Art.’ We look forward to your continued support of the Gallery as her vital legacy. Lauraine Diggins Fine Art will continue to present stimulating exhibitions and source artworks for our clients, not only looking to Australian artists but also work with an international focus.