Charles Blackman 1928-2018
Charles Blackman’s artistic career really began in earnest when he moved to Melbourne in the mid 1940s. There he met artistic and prominent people in the Australian art scene who inspired his works. Not least of these was meeting Barbara Patterson whom he married in 1951. She has been many things including a prominent writer and poet, a broadcaster, model and strong supporter and philanthropist to the arts community.
Blackman became involved with emerging artists of the 1950s who were the likes of Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan and Joy Hester, among others. This group were the founders of Australian modernism, producing artworks that were contemporary and individual in style and that often provided commentary on society at the time.
Blackman became noticed for several series of works produced in the 1950s including the schoolgirl series and his interpretations of Alice in Wonderland. His style has been described as ‘dreamlike…tinged with mystery and foreboding.’1
Some prestigious awards saw the Blackman’s move to London in 1960 for a five-year period, and later to Paris in 1970 for a year which he found to be an enduring source of artistic motivation.
Troubles with alcoholism saw Blackman divorce Barbara after 27 years, and later marry and divorce two other wives. He had six children.
Today Charles Blackman’s works are housed in all state galleries and many regional art centres.