[THE ANTIPODEAN MANIFESTO] Antipodeans 4th – 15th Aug. 1959
[Melbourne : The Antipodeans], 1959. Octavo, self-wrappers, pp. , small pen annotations and pencil scrawl to lower wrapper, light handling marks, a very good copy.
An original copy of one of the significant artist’s statements in Australian art, and group exhibitions of post-war Australian art, a great rarity.
‘In February 1959 seven artists and one historian came together in Melbourne to defend the tradition of the image in art. The context for the formation of the Antipodean group, and its single exhibition, Antipodeans, at the Victorian Artists’ Society in August 1959, was the perception that abstract art was making advances with critics and audiences in Australia and abroad. The significance of the Antipodean group in Australian art history rests strongly with the strident challenge to abstract art contained in The Antipodean Manifesto, the essay which accompanied the exhibition’s catalogue of works, written by Bernard Smith and signed by the exhibiting artists. The Manifesto asserted that the art of ‘Tachistes, Action Painters, Geometric Abstractionists, [and] Abstract Expressionists’ was ‘not an art sufficient for our time … not an art for living men’.’ – National Gallery of Australia, Antipodeans Challenge and Response in Australian Art 1955 – 1965, 27 Nov 1999 – 5 March 2000, https://nga.gov.au/exhibitions/antipodeans/index.htm
The Antipodeans consisted of Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, John Brack, Bob Dickerson, John Perceval, Clifton Pugh and Bernard Smith. The catalogue includes 65 works by the painters and the text for the Antipodean Manifesto by Bernard Smith.
Provenance : the estate of the late Dora Toovey (1898 – 1986), Archibald finalist painter and wife of James R. Jackson