Charles Blackman’s time in the Queensland sun

Charles Blackman, Australia b.1928 / The Blue Alice 1956-57 / Tempera, oil and household enamel on composition board / Purchased 2000. The Queensland Government’s special Centenary Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Charles Raymond Blackman 1956-57. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2015

Brisbane’s influence on the art of Charles Blackman, one of Australia’s most important artists, will be explored in our new exhibition from 7 November 2015.

‘Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland’ features over 50 paintings and works on paper, and explores the connections and friendships Blackman made while living in Queensland. The ‘Lure of the Sun’ is presented as part of the Glencore Queensland Artists’ Gallery program, and tells a fascinating story about the development of one of the country’s foremost artists.

When the Sydney-born Blackman first ventured across the border into Queensland in the late 1940s he was welcomed by several notable friends and creative locals, including artist Laurence Hope and future wife Barbara Patterson. These friendships and connections had a lasting influence on Blackman’s creative oeuvre and his practice from this period.

Brisbane-inspired works from Blackman’s famous ‘Schoolgirl’, ‘Faces and flowers’ and ‘Alice’ series form a significant part of ‘Lure of the Sun’ and will be on display alongside works by fellow Australian artists Laurence Hope, Laurence Collinson and Jon Molvig.

Charles Blackman, Australia b.1928 / The Family (Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and Meredith McKinney) c. 1955 / Oil and enamel on Masonite / Gift of Barbara Blackman 2000. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Canberra / © Charles Raymond Blackman 1928. Licensed by VISCOPY Sydney 2005

Blackman had maintained a significant connection with Queensland since his first visit and Brisbane remained an important influence later in his career. While in Queensland, he became acquainted with the early works of Sidney Nolan whose formative influence on the young artist can be seen in works such as the 1952 City Lights. The work that most honours the friendships that the self-taught Blackman forged in Brisbane is The family 1955, a painting of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith which recalls a winter’s day picnic at Cedar Creek near Mount Tamborine.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, Meredith McKinney, one of the subjects of The family, will discuss Brisbane’s literary and art circles of the 1950-60s. This special event takes place in the Queensland Art Gallery Lecture Theatre at 1.00pm on Saturday 7 November.

Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated publication which explores Blackman’s years in Queensland, focusing on the artist’s creative friendships and reveals the findings of recent research into Blackman’s materials and techniques.

Subscribe to YouTube to watch behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews / Read more on our blog


  1. do hope the exhibition is stil on I wanted to come in today. So its at Goma?

  2. Hi Paula. Yes, the exhibition is on until this Sunday 31 January at QAG. We hope you enjoyed your visit. Regards QAGOMA