UNTITLED (TP188), c.1964

Part 1: Important Fine Art
28 November 2012


(1921 - 1973)
UNTITLED (TP188), c.1964

synthetic polymer paint and collage on board

122.0 x 121.5 cm

bears inscription verso: TP188

$60,000 - 80,000

Estate of the artist, Sydney
Watters Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Brisbane


Tony Tuckson: Important Paintings, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 22 August – 16 September 2006, cat.13 (illus. in exhibition catalogue, no. 13)

Catalogue text

As in the best of art, Tony Tuckson's paintings are about painting - the application of paint, dribbled, surface tension, space, of colour, form, gesture - exploring creativity and the creator's role in it. They are of endless fascination, better felt than rationalized. Tuckson was one of Australia's finest Abstract Expressionist painters, producing works of international quality. His red, black and white paintings from the early nineteen-sixties are among the best, as seen in Untitled (TP188) of circa 1964. They are powerful and aggressive, starkly dramatic, of reds, blacks and blues against whites, heavily textured, paint worked and running, sometimes marvellously full of disorder. As a gifted public gallery administrator and curator, Tuckson was highly professional - his art was entirely subjective. His colleague and friend Daniel Thomas said of Tuckson's paintings, '... they offer direct contact with the artist himself. They hide nothing. Each stage of the making can be seen and appreciated. The artist invites the spectator to watch the raw creative process; it is a generous, confident invitation and the paintings have great freshness.'And again, in the late works, 'He was painting only about himself.'2 For many years Tuckson's dedicated gallery role limited the public showing of his art to the occasional exhibit with the Sydney Society of Artists and the Contemporary Art Society. It was not until 1970 that he held his first solo show at Watters Gallery in Sydney, where he exhibited over sixty paintings from the period 1958 to 1965. Three years later he held his second and last at the same gallery. The exhibitions that followed his untimely death paid tribute to a great Australian painter - especially the two major retrospectives - the 1976 Memorial Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and in 2000 Painting Forever: Tony Tuckson at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, which subsequently toured. His paintings in numerous leading Australian public collections provide further evidence of the acclaim given to his art - two examples from the same period as the painting on offer are the National Gallery of Victoria's "E", 1962-65, and Line Square with Shapes, c1964 in the National Gallery of Australia, both in synthetic polymer paint. Mention can also be made of the later tour de force paintings such as White Lines (Horizontal) on Red, 1970-73 (National Gallery of Victoria) and White Lines (Vertical) on Ultramarine, 1970-73 (Art Gallery of New South Wales).

Whatever the interests and influences on his work - Aboriginal art to Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock and others - the end result is rigorously and spontaneously individual, as seen in Untitled (TP188).

1. Thomas, D., 'An Introduction to Tony Tuckson, 1921-1973' in Legge, G., Free, R., Thomas, D., Maloon, T., Tony Tuckson, Watters Gallery for Craftsman House, Sydney, 2006 edition, p. 34
2. Ibid, p. 37