Twenty-two of Tony Tuckson’s beautiful abstract paintings have been bequeathed to our public art galleries by his widow Margaret, who passed away in September.

Tuckson was deputy director at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1957 until his death in 1973, and the conflict he perceived between this position and his art practice made him reticent about exhibiting his work.

Untitled – yellow 1970–73

Untitled – yellow 1970–73


Untitled – yellow, 1970-73 was included in the 1973 exhibition of Tony Tuckson’s paintings at Watters Gallery, Sydney. It was the second of only two solo exhibitions Tuckson held during his lifetime. Although he described himself as a ‘Sunday painter’ who only had time to work in the evenings, on weekends and holidays, he painted around four hundred and fifty paintings and made more than ten thousand drawings.

White over red on blue c.1971

White over red on blue c.1971

Tuckson’s early works were more figurative and his abstract expressionist works were inspired by Jackson Pollock and Tuckson’s experiences with indigenous artists on Melville Island while he was collecting works for the Art Gallery of NSW’s collection. I love the boldness, spontaneity and wild energy of Tuckson’s late paintings. Minimal titles focus attention on the raw materiality of these works. The large scale of the paintings demanded an intensely physical way of working and the broad brushstrokes, splashes, smudges and dribbles of colour speak of the frenetic energy of their creation.

Pink Lines (Vertical) on Red and Purple

Pink Lines (Vertical) on Red and Purple