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TarraWarra Museum of Art: Discovering Dobell Exhibition

Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges

  • William Dobell Cockney kid with hoop 1936 (detail) oil on plywood 65 x 30.5 cm Gift of Eva Besen AO

Discovering Dobell offers an intimate glimpse of William Dobell, one of Australia’s most important 20th century artists, whose heart remained anchored in the daily life of everyday people, from the streets of Depression-raked London to Sydney’s Kings Cross.

Discovering Dobell offers an intimate glimpse of William Dobell, one of Australia’s most important 20th century artists, whose heart remained anchored in the daily life of everyday people, from the streets of Depression-raked London to Sydney’s Kings Cross.

Curated by Christopher Heathcote, the exhibition demonstrates how Dobell developed ideas from sketches to paintings. In some instances previously unknown relationships between drawings, gouaches and important oils are identified.

Discovering Dobell features the artist’s controversial and recognisable portraits of Joshua Smith, Dame Mary Gilmore and Helena Rubinstein, alongside other vital strands of his output, including affectionate images of grinning ockers, struggling young mothers, cheeky street children at play, and haughty women intent on keeping-up-appearances.

This overview is rounded out with Dobell’s experimental drawings and paintings from New Guinea, as well as his little-known ventures into abstract form.

In association with Wakefield Press, the Museum has produced a major new publication to accompany the exhibition featuring a new insightful analysis and appraisal of Dobell’s achievement by Christopher Heathcote.

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