‘Barbara’ is recognisably Charles Blackman. In minimal blood orange strokes, he carves out his former wife and muse Barbara Blackman’s face. She is slightly withdrawn yet utterly captivating. An esteemed author, Barbara’s encroaching blindness inspired her husband’s Alice in Wonderland series, in which Alice roams an increasingly disorentating Wonderland.
Dated circa 1953, ‘Barbara’ stems from a significant period in Blackman’s career. Despite being only in his mid-twenties, he was already gaining traction for his now iconic Schoolgirl series. Critics were struck by the series’s undercurrent of unease. This was an artist who understood acutely the precarity of youth, urbanisation and loneliness. With this in mind, ‘Barbara’ is also an expression of youthful anxiety.
‘Barbara’ is a monotype, meaning that although it was created using printmaking techniques, it remained a single image. Blackman adored printmaking for its collaborativeness and fidelity to process. This work thus, embodies one of his favourite mediums while remaining as unique as a painting.
Blackman stands among Australia’s most beloved and collectable artists. With a career as distinct as it is diverse, his work is acclaimed for its deep understanding of the human condition. This work is box framed with museum board.
For collectors of Blackman and modern art, this early monotype is a thrilling find.
Charles BLACKMAN (1928 - 2018)
'Barbara' c. 1953
monotype on paper
Image Size: 42 x 33 cm
Dimensions: 62 x 51 x 4 cm
Signed: Titled and signed lower image: Barbara / Blackman
Comes with Letter of Provenance
This work is a monotype. A similar monotype titled Head of a Woman created the same year is represented at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Accession no.: 77.315A similar monotype titled Head created in 1961 is represented at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Accession no.: 2002.287This work is box framed with museum board.
Condition: Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image as very good, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear to the paper. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface. Image is in Fine condition. This work is box framed with 100% cotton museum grade matboard.
© Charles Blackman / Copyright Agency 2020