Vale: Robert Dickerson


The Gallery acknowledges the recent passing of Robert Dickerson (1924 – 2015), one of Australia’s best known artists and a unique artistic personality.

Robert Dickerson was a distinguished Australian artist whose long standing commitment to his art was widely acknowledged throughout Australia. Born in Sydney, Dickerson had an unconventional path as an artist, self-taught with no formal training. His connections with Melbourne artists in the 1959 ‘Antipodean Manifesto’ and their emphasis on figurative art underpinned the figurative basis of his work. Dickerson’s subject matter and style was unique, angular human figures against urban and rural backgrounds distilled to potent forms.

I feel we should try to paint the life we see around us – people and the way they feel about living today… I am moved by the whole human situation
Robert Dickerson

Robert Dickerson, Australia 1924-2015 / Working in the fields 1959 / Enamel on composition board / Purchased 1963 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © QAGOMA

Working in the fields 1959 evokes the deference of universal themes. The figures that loom heavily in the foreground are suggestive of the struggle and subservience of a life of labour. Dickerson’s work conjures out of a vast expanse, figurative forms that are means to an end.