Pre 1970

The 1940s to 1950s was a dynamic and creative period for Western Australian art with artists exploring the new languages of Surrealism, Expressionism and Social Realism and reductive abstraction. Younger painters began to express themselves with a new force. Herbert McClintock and Ernest Philpot created surrealist images; Elise Blumann painted works with an expressive energy influenced by German Expressionism; and Harald Vike created social realist works, expressing his solidarity with the working classes. Guy Grey-Smith painted abstracted landscapes inspired by the strong colours of French Fauvism. And Robert Juniper developed a highly personal visual language in response to the distinctive qualities of the Western Australian landscape.

Large-scale abstract painting became a dominant force in Australia from the 1950s and remains a strong approach in contemporary Western Australian art. Howard Taylor’s highly individual works in which he sought to create ‘equivalents’ for his experience of the landscape, illuminated by a radiant light, have had a powerful influence on many artists.

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