Good Reading : November 2006
48 goodreading ı NOVEMBER 2006 Australian artist Albert Tucker painted because painting was, to him, ‘answer- ing an inner compulsion’. Bor n in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Footscray in 1914, Tucker spent his childhood and young adulthood in relative poverty, often too poor to buy materials with which to paint even though he deter mined very early on to become an artist. He shared an exhibition in Melbour ne with a sculptor two months short of his twentieth birthday, which while not a commercial success gained good reviews for his portraiture. Tucker began to meet kindred spirits who also frequented the city’s few cheap cafés and bookshops, and took a studio above a boot repair shop in Little Collins Street. Tucker’s steadily growing acceptance by the public and leading galleries was mir rored by his growing stature among fellow artists and art patrons, including Sidney Nolan and John and Sunday Reed. At the Reed home, Heide, Tucker found the intel- lectual discussion he craved. In the late 1940s he went to live in Europe, then the United States, returning to Australia in 1960 for a triumphant national touring exhibition of his work. He died in 1999. Albert Tucker is the first comprehensive book on this major artist. Gavin Fry marries the story of Tucker’s complicated life with the development of his artistic ability and recognition; there are colour plates of Tucker’s paintings throughout. good tucker Self portrait 1937; oil on paper- board on composi- tion board; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Cover of Angry Penguins, 1945, designed by Albert Tucker. Sun bathers 1944; oil on cardboard; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Self 1983; oil on compo- sition board; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
December / January 2007