December 5, 1939 — Albert Namitjira’s first solo show opens

One of the greatest of Australian painters, Albert Namitjira was 36 when his first solo show opened. It ran for about a week, at a gallery in Melbourne – far away from the rugged landscapes of the Flinders Ranges that Namitjira loved to paint. It was the first solo show by a painter of indigenous origin in Australian history, and it was a harbinger of bigger and better things to come.

Namitjira’s work blended European painting styles with the artistic traditions of his people, in a harmonious blend that showed Australians of all kinds a new way to look at their country. (And its gum trees. Namitjira loved to paint gum trees.) He died in 1959, mourned by a nation and after a too-short career that changed Australian art like no painter before or since has done.

Albert Namatjira portrait.jpg
By Unknown author – Northern Territory Library, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Native Born — Paul Kelly

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