Page 1


2.  TP 536

Cover 1.  TP 224


When I saw the images... When I saw the images for this Tuckson exhibition my thought was - how wonderful that after so many years there are still such sublime and powerful Tucksons to see! I was struck by the memory of being an eighteen year old art student and seeing his work for the first time, the impact was profound. I felt as if I had been given permission to paint. I have always felt an intimacy about Tuckson’s painting. You can trace the way they are painted, their making is visible: nothing is hidden. His paintings are captured motion, suspended in the moment of doing. The doing becomes the work. Regardless of scale, they are direct and spontaneous. It’s not about making a picture, it’s a record of the event. Tuckson’s paintings are raw and visceral; his emotional freedom and lack of inhibition connects his work to the unpredictable Australian bush. We are all indebted to Tuckson and his artistic contribution; he is one of the true great painters of this country. To be asked to write some words for this exhibition is an honour as so many generations of painters have been and continue to be inspired by the work of Tony Tuckson. Ildiko Kovacs 2016

3.  TP 571a


Thoughts on Tony Tuckson’s Untitled Painting TP212, 1973 Tony Tuckson held only two solo exhibitions: one in 1970, the second in April, 1973. He died seven months later. Tuckson referred to his paintings in the 1973 exhibition as Action Paintings; in them vigorously painted columns on horizontal bars of white paint dominated gentle, seductive grounds. All twenty two paintings in that exhibition were masterpieces. During his last seven months Tuckson completed a number of paintings, all of them of great significance, none of them Action Paintings. They have a silent authority about them of ancient, unquestionable wisdom. They maintain a development in Tuckson’s work that is achieved through the ground taking a more and more active role; indeed, two most highly regarded works virtually combine the content and ground. There is evidence that Tuckson was feeling drawn to another direction, one that would have brought back to the forefront all the uncanny brilliance of touch and placement that his vast output of figurative works and Abstract Expressionist paintings had added to his natural endowment. One work gives this proposition support and new reason to grieve Tuckson’s early death, it is TP212 (on the opposite page). In August 2007 we held an exhibition: Tony Tuckson: Important Paintings. In that show TP212 was considered by us to be the most important of the “important” paintings. Over the past nine years TP212 has burgeoned in our minds; its quality of unforced drama and controlled grandeur is wrought with unlaboured brilliance. It is very much “Tuckson” but so unique amongst his works that it stands alone. It gives a sense of having come into being of its own volition. If we think of the touches of Tuckson’s brush as words, then T.S. Eliot’s would maintain that in TP212 Tuckson has created a work: Where every word is at home, Taking its place to support the others, The word neither diffident nor ostentatious, An easy commerce of the old and the new, The common word exact without vulgarity, The formal word precise but not pedantic, The complete consort dancing together (from Little Gidding, 1942) Certainly, we discover “the complete consort dancing together” in this great painting from the last months of Tony Tuckson’s life. Geoffrey Legge

4.  TP 212


5.  TP 499

6.  TP 568a


No.41: Collage stocking. TP41, 1963 It has been surmised and does seem probable that about the time that Tony and Margaret Tuckson moved into their house in Wahroonga – October 1962 – Tuckson was suffering from quite a serious mental conflict. He had two allencompassing preoccupations struggling within him: his painting and his work as Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1956 he had stopped entering exhibitions for ethical reasons related to his position at AGNSW, but in that very year the commercial gallery scene was coming into vital existence. By 1962 young artists and artists of his generation were developing reputations through solo exhibitions at new commercial galleries. He was conversant with their work but they were unaware that he was a painter. It became imperative that he have an exhibition. In his new studio over the next three years, with a determination, even desperation fuelled by his feeling of isolation, he created a body of work for exhibition. He painted what became known as the Red/Black/White series. More, much more, than ever before there is a sense of his presence in the paintings and, many feel, an anger due to the conflict in his life. Certainly No.41 Collage stocking TP41 has a more trenchant presence than anything else in this exhibition. Margaret Tuckson never let this work out of her possession and often hung it in her house so she could enjoy it. No. 41: Collage stocking TP41 was included in his 1970 exhibition. It is a brave, uncompromising painting from the Red/Black/White series. Geoffrey Legge 7.  TP 41


9.  TP 245a

8.  TP 252


10. TD 452

11.  TP 101


12.  TP 246

13.  TD 90


14.  TD 6724

15.  TP 227


16.  TD 6727

18.  TP 496

17.  TD 1189


19.  TD 507

20.  TP 262


21.  TD 1196

23.  TP 566a

22.  TD 489


List of Works (front cover) 1.  TP224 (c.1958) oil on hardboard 122 x 91.5cm Provenance: Tony Tuckson: Paintings, 18 Oct – 4 Nov, 1989, cat.no.2, Watters Gallery, Sydney; Tony Tuckson: Major Paintings, 26 Sept – 14 Oct, 2000, cat.no.3, Watters Gallery, Sydney 2.  Abstract on cardboard, no.2 TP536 (1956-1958?) oil on cardboard 50.2 x 38.5cm Reference: Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House, 1989 & 2006, Plate 64, p.85 3.  TP571a (c.1957) oil on cardboard 59.4 x 44cm 4.  TP212 (1973) acrylic on hardboard 183 x 122.5cm Provenance: Tony Tuckson: Important Paintings 23 Aug – 16 Sept, 2006, cat.no.18 and cover of catalogue to exhibition, with essay ‘Tony Tuckson: A Journey of Discovery’, by Geoffrey Legge, Watters Gallery, Sydney 5.  TP499  (1956 -1959) oil on cardboard 33.5 x 25.8cm

11.  Abstract A14 TP101 (1958-1961?) PVA/enamel on cardboard on board 86 x 58cm Provenance: Memorial Exhibition, 5 – 23 Nov 1974, Watters Gallery, Sydney; Tony Tuckson: Important Paintings, 23 Aug – 16 Sept, 2006, illustrated, cat.no.2, with essay ‘Tony Tuckson: A Journey of Discovery’, by Geoffrey Legge, Watters Gallery, Sydney. Reference: Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House, 1989 & 2006, Plate 95, p.103 12.  TP246 (1954-1957) oil on canvas 37.5 x 30cm 13.  TD90 (1959) gouache on newspaper: The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 14 Feb, 1959 90 x 78cm 14.  TD6724 (1957-1959) gouache on paper 38.2 x 18.5cm 15.  TP227 (1957-1959) oil on Masonite 61.5 x 43.5cm

Provenance: Breakthrough into Abstraction, 27 June – 21 July, 2001, cat.no.21, illustrated, with essay ‘Tony Tuckson: Breakthrough into Abstraction’, by Geoffrey Legge, Watters Gallery, Sydney

16.  TD6727 (1957-1959) gouache on paper 28.2x 37.8cm

6.  TP568a (c.1957) oil on cardboard 69 x 39cm

17.  TD1189 (1957-1959) gouache on paper 17 x 14cm

7.  No.41: Collage stocking TP41 (1963?) PVA and collage of stockings, bikini strap, shirt tail and paper on hardboard 122 x 91.5cm

18.  TP496 (1956-1959) oil on cardboard 52 x 29cm

Provenance: Paintings, 27 May – 13 June, 1970, cat.no.41, Watters Gallery, Sydney; Tony Tuckson 1921-1973 A Retrospective Exhibition, 13 – 30 Oct, 1982, cat.no.76, illustrated on front cover of catalogue, foreword by Geoffrey Legge, introduction by Daniel Thomas, Pinacotheca, Melbourne; Painting Forever: Tony Tuckson 4 Nov 2000 – 4 Feb 2001, cat.no.38, National Gallery of Australia, and then to Art Gallery of South Australia; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria; Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Sydney; Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Victoria, until 2002. Reference: ‘Tony Tuckson’, Art and Australia, Vol.12, No.2, December 1974. Monograph article, 22 illustrations (seven in colour), plus colour cover, pp.156-166, illustrated p.164, Sandra McGrath; Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House 1989, 2006, Plate 111, p.113 8.  TP252 (c.1957) oil on canvas 61 x 46cm Provenance: Painting Forever: Tony Tuckson 4 Nov 2000 – 4 Feb 2001, cat.no.20, National Gallery of Australia 9.  TP245a (c.1957) oil on canvas 54.3 x 34cm Provenance: Tony Tuckson: abstract paintings from the mid-1950s, 25 Feb – 15 March 2014, cat.no.17, Watters Gallery, Sydney 10.  Abstract on paper, no.2 TD452  (1960?) oil on paper 51.2 x 32cm Reference: Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House, 1989 & 2006, Plate 90, p.100

Exhibition catalogue Watters Gallery, Sydney 7 June - 25 June 2016 © Artist,Tony Tuckson Estate This catalogue is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted by the Copyright Act no part may be reproduced by any other process without written permission.

Provenance: Breakthrough into Abstraction, 27 June – 21 July, 2001, cat.no.6, illustrated, with essay ‘Tony Tuckson: Breakthrough into Abstraction’, by Geoffrey Legge, Watters Gallery, Sydney; Tony Tuckson: Abstract Expressionist, 18 Sept – 6 Oct, 2012, cat.no.6, illustrated, with introduction by Geoffrey Legge and essay ‘Tony Tuckson’ by Terence Maloon, Watters Gallery, Sydney 19.  TD507 (c.1957) gouache on paper 101.5 x 76.2cm 20.  Abstract on canvas, no.1 TP262 (1956?) oil on canvas 102.4 x 71.3cm Provenance/Reference: Tony Tuckson 1921-1973, a memorial exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, April/ May, 1976 (referring to this painting, on p.11 of the catalogue Daniel Thomas wrote: ‘At least one surviving canvas … is like a black rectangular Soulages on a red ground.’); Up Down and Across, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, 11 Aug – 10 Sept, 1995. Full colour catalogue/book with introductory essay by the exhibition’s curator, Suellyn Luckett; Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House 1989 & 2006, Plate 63, p.85 21.  TD1196 (c.1957) gouache on paper 39.3 x 28.4cm 22.  Abstract on paper, no.11 TD489 (1959-1960?) oil on paper 56.1 x 38.9cm Reference: Tony Tuckson, Thomas, Maloon, Free, Legge, Craftsman House 1989 & 2006, Figure 71, p.178 23.  TP566a  (1957-1959) oil on cardboard 102 x 61cm


Watters Gallery 109 Riley Street, East Sydney NSW 2010  Ph: (02) 9331 2556  www.wattersgallery.com  info@wattersgallery.com tues and sat: 10am - 5pm;  wed, thurs, fri: 10am - 7pm

TONY TUCKSON (1921-1973) Abstract Paintings  

"When I saw the images for this Tuckson exhibition my thought was - how wonderful that after so many years there are still such sublime and...

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