Charles Blackman



Blackman, born 12 August 1928 in Sydney, left school at 13 and worked as an illustrator
with The Sun newspaper while attending night classes at East Sydney Technical College
(1943–46) though was principally self-taught. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate
and an O.B.E. He came to notice following his move to Melbourne in the mid-1940s, where
he became friends with Joy Hester, John Perceval and Laurence Hope as well as gaining
the support of critic and art patron John Reed. His work met critical acclaim through his
early Schoolgirl and Alice series, the latter Blackman's conception of Lewis Carroll's most
famous character. For some time while painting the Alice series, Blackman worked as a
cook at a café run by art dealer Georges Mora and his wife, fellow artist Mirka Mora. In
1959 he was a signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto, a statement protesting against the
dominance of abstract expressionism, along with Arthur and David Boyd, John Brack,
Robert Dickerson, John Perceval and Clifton Pugh.
Blackman's own work is associated with dreamlike images tinged with mystery and
foreboding. In 1960 he and his family lived in London after Blackman won a Helena
Rubenstein travelling scholarship, settling in Sydney upon his return five and a half years
later. In 1970 he moved to Paris, when awarded the atelier studio in the Cité des Artes. He
lived there for a year at the same time as John Coburn, and subsequently returned often,
as Paris was for him a lasting source of inspiration. He is considered one of Australias most
iconic and loved artists.


1928 Born Sydney, Australia
1943-46 Studied East Sydney Technical College
1945-60 Lived and painted in Melbourne
1950s Painted Schoolgirl series, followed by Alice in Wonderland series
1960-64 Travelled and studied overseas after winning Helena Rubinstein Scholarship
Lived and painted in London, exhibited at Whitechapel and Tate Galleries
1965 Tour of northern France and Flanders
1966-70 Lived and painted in Sydney
1970-71 Toured Italy extensively and lived in Paris
1975 Occupied Australian Studio, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris
1976-2001 Lived and painted in NSW, Queensland, WA
2018 Charles passed away shortly after his 90th birthday.