Australian Art and Artists in London, 1950–1965 is a new book from Simon Pierse. It explores the impact of Australian art in Britain in the two decades following the end of World War II and preceding the ‘Swinging Sixties’. The book includes archival material, letters, and photographs previously unavailable to scholars either in Britain or Australia.
In a transitional period of decolonization in Britain, Australian painting was briefly seized upon as a dynamic and reinvigorating force in contemporary art, and a group of Australian artists settled in London where they held centre stage with group and solo exhibitions in the capital’s most prestigious galleries.
The book traces the key influences of Sir Kenneth Clark, Bernard Smith and Bryan Robertson in their various (and varying) roles as patrons, ideologues, and entrepreneurs for Australian art, as well as the self-definition and interaction of the artists themselves.
Simon Pierse interweaves the mechanics of the British art world, the limited and frustrating cultural scene of 1950s Australia, and the conservative influence of Australian government bodies.
About the Author: Simon Pierse was born in London. As well as being a practising artist, he is Lecturer in Art at Aberystwyth University where his research focuses on British perceptions of Australian art and identity.