This week saw a new art auction record set for a work of art by Charles Blackman. The painting, 'Mad Hatter’s Tea Party' sold just shy of $2 million. In light of his ever-expanding collectibility, it seems that Australia’s love for the artist can only grow - and you can see why.
This collection comes from the artist’s Paris sojourn and rings of the Blackman magic. In 1971, Charles Blackman was awarded a studio in the Cite des Artes, Paris. In the City of Light, Charles submerged into his Parisian practice - revelling in what would represent his golden period for drawing. These drawings are a testament to immense creative development and transition - both artistic and personal. As always, Charles leads with feeling, letting the pen follow in poetic rapture.
Charles (far right) with his children Christabel and Auguste in Paris, by Axel Poignant.
Charles’s Muse - Philippa
Philippa, one of Charles’s favourite muses was also living in Paris when the Blackmans were. In these wistful drawings, Charles captures the mingled joys of living abroad. Content, but wide-eyed - Philippa is caught in the winds of adventure.
A New Practice
In Paris, Charles encountered the Rotring pen. This seminal moment opened up a new kind of drawing for Charles. He embraced the pen’s fluid, distinct line - filling countless notebooks with drawings. These works chart the development of Charles’s now iconic style at the helm of this pen.
Auguste Blackman and his mother Barbara in Paris, photo by Lady Mary Nolan.
Life in Paris
Life in Paris was not all trips to studio. Instead, surrounded by his wife and children these years were also about making a life overseas. In 'The Kitchen', Charles memorializes the Blackman’s tiny kitchen in the Porte Saint Denis, while in 'Paris Street' Charles sketches the faces of France. Both Charles and his children were fascinated by French culture. For them the city was a cacophony of food, fashion and fun.
As their stint in Paris drew to a close, Charles was happy to return home - he longed for his artistic community. Despite this, the Blackmans savoured the Parisian psyche. Painted just after their return, Richard embodies this sensation - it is at once an ode to Charles’s oldest friend and flushed with new found French confidence.
Charles with his favourite beret in Paris, by Axel Poignant.
In light of his ever-expanding collectibility, it seems that Australia’s love for the man can only grow - and you can see why. This collection rings of the Blackman magic. It captures the development of Blackman’s lifelong affair with drawing alongside his singular vision for life.