The Mystery behind William Dobell’s ‘The Cypriot’

In 1940, William Dobell (1899-1970) returned to Australia after ten years in Europe. He completed The Cypriot (illustrated) that same year, a portrait of his friend Aegus Gabrielides. Was it the first major painting he produced, and what is the mystery behind the work? RELATED: The life and art of William Dobell DELVE DEEPER: The…

Go back in time to a busy corner of the Brisbane River

George Wishart (1872-1921) was born in Brisbane and was taught painting by Isaac Walter Jenner, Brisbane’s foremost marine painter (illustrated below). Wishart also worked professionally as a photographer and was associated with local firm Thomas Mathewson Photographic Studio (see contemporary depictions of Brisbane below). Wishart’s painting A busy corner of the Brisbane River 1897, on…

Go behind-the-scenes as we conserve Ian Fairweather’s paintings

In 1957, artist James Gleeson, then art critic at The Sun newspaper, wrote that the paintings of Ian Fairweather (1891-1974) would never last.1 Reputedly using whatever materials came to hand within his itinerant lifestyle, the paintings of Fairweather are renowned as much for their fragility as their beauty, and this is part of their appeal.…

Investigating Contemporary Artist Canvases

As conservators caring for a range of paintings in the QAGOMA collection, we began to notice that some contemporary paintings on pre-primed canvases do not always behave predictably during conservation treatments. This, combined with questions from artists, led us to a three year collaborative project with colleagues in Singapore and Melbourne to assess the range…

Conserving Gordon Bennett’s diptych ‘Number three’

Unconventional types of damage require unconventional treatment strategies. This is certainly true for the collaborative major treatment QAGOMA’s paintings conservation team completed on Gordon Bennett’s (1955 – 2014) Number three 2004, a significant diptych painted in acrylic on Belgian linen. Bennett is well-known for his highly figurative narrative-driven commentaries on Australian colonial history and contemporary…

Inquiring minds: Conserving a Collection

The QAGOMA Foundation assists with Gallery conservation activities such as supporting complex treatments, technical art history studies, innovative research and analysis that frequently leads to publication and contributes to a wider body of industry knowledge, and enabled a research project with the Heritage Conservation Centre, Singapore. We delve into recent investigations into the materials and…