Brian Dunlop 1938-2009

Art Life Dec 10, 2009 No Comments

This tribute to Brian Dunlop has been released by Eva Breuer Gallery:

Brian Dunlop (1938-2009, Untitled (Self-Portrait) 1985

Lithograph 12/20, 32.5 x 31.5 cm.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Brian Dunlop (1938-2009) one of Australia’s greatest painters and a dear friend. Brian died yesterday morning, 9 December, in Melbourne after a long battle with a congenital heart condition. He was 71.

“An artist of great sensibility, of great intellect and virtuosity, Brian was an exceptional professional; sought after by collectors, revered by his colleagues, and loved by all who knew him. The body of work he leaves behind includes some of the most important figurative paintings produced in Australia. The best of Brian’s works exude a poetic vulnerability and sensuality, perhaps seen in a silent pause or the lift of a curtain in the breeze. For many years Brian restricted his range of subject matter to the interior with window, often including a figure or still life. In these works “The room represents the mind, the windows the eyes looking out, curtains are the eyelids. A window is the division between inner and outer, spiritual and worldly. The figure later stood in the doorway, the threshold; then she ventured outside into the landscape.” Whether painting the figure or the landscape, overpowering everything in Brian’s work is light. In April reflecting on his latest compositions he wrote, “The correct balance can be pure energy.”

“Having inherited his love of painting and drawing from his father, Brian won a scholarship to study at the National Art School from which he graduated at the end of the 1950’s. There was a strong tendency towards abstraction in Sydney at that stage and it wasn’t until he reached Rome some years later that Brian found his ‘true’ way. “Justin O’brien had looked at sketches and drawings I had done in Rome and said that they were more ‘true to you’ than the abstract work. He said ‘Keep doing them, and they will evolve’, so I did.”

“Brian had an insatiable appetite for the history of art, particularly European art, as a practising painter. “I have also always liked what I regard as the true American tradition which includes a deep respect for nature and wilderness and social comment (Frederick Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth).” Of continuing interest to him were artists as different as Piero della Francesco (he had seen all his paintings), Vermeer and Braque. After working for twenty years in and near Port Fairy on the south west coast of Victoria, Brian had recently moved to Beechworth, where he painted his last exhibition.

“Brian was part of the gallery family for more than 15 years. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We farewell him with the greatest respect.”

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Andrew Frost

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