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Charles Blackman was born in Sydney and studied at East Sydney Technical College before starting work as a press artist for the Sydney “Sun” newspaper. It was not until he travelled to Melbourne in 1952 and became involved in the more sympathetic, figurative movement there that Charles Blackman’s work gained direction and attracted attention for its individuality.
In 1960 Blackman won the Helena Rubinstein Scholarship and following this spent some years in London where he enjoyed notable success. Blackman’s symbolic-styled paintings feature recurring images of children, flowers and cats, and scenes inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
Among his most famous images are those from his 1950’s Schoolgirl series which convey both feelings of vulnerability and menace. Art critic and writer Jean Campbell writes of Blackman’s warm humanity and “a tender awareness of the everyday personal relationships and of the vulnerability of the human condition – especially that of children.”
Charles Blackman has exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas. He is represented in the Musee D’Art in Paris, the Contemporary Art Society of London and in Australian State and Regional Galleries.
His work also appears in many corporate and private collection in Australia and overseas. He was awarded an OBE in 1977 for services to the Arts.
Reference: The Paintings of Charles Blackman: The Substance of Dreams A. Alvarez (1965); Apparition A. Alvarez (1971); Lost Domains N. Amadio (1980); Charles Blackman, Paris Dreaming (Nadine Amadio) (1982); Modern Australian Painting 1950-1970 and Modern Australian Painting 1975-1980 K. Bonython; Australian Watercolour Painters J. Campbell (1983); The Years of Hope: Australian Art and Criticism 1958-1968 G. Catalano (1981); The Art of Charles Blackman T. Shapcott (1989)