Tony Tuckson was an influential Australian arts administrator and painter, advocating for serious consideration of Aboriginal art in the country’s art institutions as the deputy-director of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, and also developing a series of paintings that established his reputation as arguably the country’s best abstract artist.Read More
Tuckson was born in Egypt and attended the Hornsey School of Art in London (1937-1938) and Kingston School of Art in 1939. He served in the Royal Air Force in Darwin, marrying a former design student, Dorothea Bisset and settling in Sydney and attending the East Sydney Technical (1947-1949). He became assistant-director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1950.
Visiting Melville Island in 1958 to collect Aboriginal works of art he secured carved and painted burial-ceremony poles which were placed by the gallery’s entrance. He also curated a landmark exhibition of Aboriginal bark paintings and carvings which toured throughout Australia (1960-1961), changing perceptions about Aboriginal art.
Tuckson’s art was also transformed by the experience, painting a series of influential and expressive abstract works that revealed the influence of Aboriginal art.
Tuckson’s work is held in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.