Anne Hall was part of the Heide circle, of which Charles Blackman, Sidney Nolan and Hall’s husband John Perceval, the subject of this work, were also members. Like them, she pursued a Figurative Expressionist style, smudging objective and subjective truths. In a way particular to her however, Hall cut to the nucleus of her subject, bearing their soul in all its beauty and pain.
In ‘Untitled (Portrait of John Perceval)’, Hall paints her former husband of ten years. Despite the sunny palette, his face is mournful, as though weighted by years of worry. Perceval had a difficult life: in 1977 he was admitted into a psychiatric hospital with alcoholism and schizophrenia; four years later, his marriage would end.
Critic Jeffrey Makin wrote of Hall’s 1976 portrait that it “cuts through the appearances to Perceval’s very soul”. This unique insight, which ‘Untitled (Portrait of John Perceval)’ also contains, is no doubt born from the intimacy of their relationship. Rather than just an artist, peer or friend, she experienced Perceval as a man haunted by his frailty. Hers are perhaps some of the rawest visions of the man art history will ever see.
Like Joy Hester and Mirka Mora, Hall forged a compelling female voice in an otherwise male dominated space. That her career was at times overshadowed by her marriage is a testament to Modernism’s issues with gender parity. Now, collected by The National Gallery of Australia, the Ian Potter Museum and Geelong Gallery, her absence is being redressed.
For collectors of Modernist Australian art and those hankering after a unique insight into the Antipodean movement, Hall is a vital find.
Anne HALL (1945 - )
'Untitled (Portrait of John Perceval)'
watercolour on paper
Image Size: 33 x 25 cm
Availability: in stock
© The Artist or Assignee
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