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Encyclopedia > Sir William Dobell

Sir William Dobell (24 September 1899 - 13 May 1970) was an Australian artist (sculptor and painter). The Electoral Division of Dobell is named after him. September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years). ... 1899 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... May 13 is the 133rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (134th in leap years). ... 1970 was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Artist is a subjective term which describes a person creative in, innovative in, or adept at, their endeavors. ... Sculptor redirects here. ... A painter is a person who paints woodwork, walls, etc. ... The Division of Dobell is an Australian Electoral Division in New South Wales. ...


Early years and training

William Dobell was born in Cooks Hill, a working class neighbourhood of Newcastle, New South Wales. His father was a builder and there were six children. Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, is Australias sixth largest city. ... Motto: Orta Recens Quam Pura Nites (Newly Risen, How Brightly You Shine) Nickname: First State, Premier State Other Australian states and territories Capital Sydney Government Governor Premier Const. ...

Dobell's artistic talents were evident early. In 1916 he was apprenticed to Newcastle architect, Wallace L. Porter and in 1924 he moved to Sydney as a draftsman. In 1925 he enrolled in evening art classes at Julian Ashton's School and was influenced by George Lambert. Architect at his drawing board, 1893 An architect, also known as a building designer, is a person involved in the planning, designing and oversight of a buildings construction, whose role is to guide decisions affecting those building aspects that are of aesthetic, cultural or social concern. ... Sydney Harbour looking south from the vicinity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge towards the CBD skyline; the Opera House is visible in the background on the left. ... A number of people are named George Lambert: George Lambert (VC), Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross. ...

In 1929 Dobell was awarded the Society of Artists' Travelling Scholarship and travelled to England to the Slade School where he studied under Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks and William Orpen. In 1930 Dobell won first prize for figure painting at Slade and also travelled to Poland. In 1931 Dobell travelled to Belgium and Paris, and then returned to Australia from England. Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population - Total (mid-2004) - Density Ranked 1st UK 50. ... Part of the University College London, the Slade School of Art was founded in 1868 as the result of an endowment by Felix Slade. ... William Newenham Montague Orpen (Born Stillorgan, Co Dublin 27 November 1878 and died London, England, 29 September 1931) was an Irish portrait painter. ... The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...


In 1939 he began as a part-time teacher at East Sydney Technical College. In 1941 Dobell was drafted into the Civil Construction Corps of the Allied Works Council as a camouflage painter; he later became an unofficial war artist. In 1944 Dobell had his first solo exhibition including public collection loans at the inauguration of the David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney. Anolis caroliensis showing blending camouflage and counter-shading. ... War artists capture the experience of war in an artistic manner whilst based in the battlefield. ... David Jones is a common name, particularly in Wales, UK, and there have been several well-known individuals with this name. ...

In 1949 he visited New Guinea as a guest of Sir Edward Hallstrom with writers Frank Clame and Colin Simpson. The trip inspired a new series of tiny, brilliantly coloured landscapes. In 1950 he revisited New Guinea and on his return to Wangi he continued to paint scenes of New Guinea, as well as portraits.

Between 1960 and 1963 Time magazine commissioned Dobell to paint four portraits for covers, one per year, of: Rt. Hon. Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia; South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem; Frederick G. Donner, the Chairman of General Motors; and Tunku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia. In 1964 Dobell exhibited in a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the first monograph of his work was written by James Gleeson. (Clockwise from upper left) Time magazine covers from May 7, 1945; July 25, 1969; December 31, 1999; September 14, 2001; and April 21, 2003. ... Rt Hon Sir Robert Menzies KT AK CH QC The Right Honourable Sir Robert Gordon Menzies KT, AK, CH, QC (20 December 1894 – 14 May 1978), Australian politician, was the twelfth and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia serving eighteen and a half years. ... The current (25th) Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard (sitting, fifth from left), with his Cabinet, 1999 The office of Prime Minister is in practice the most powerful political office in the Commonwealth of Australia. ... Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A Population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... Ngô Đình Diệm Ngô Đình Diệm (吳廷琰, approximately pronounced Ngoh Din Yim   listen?) (January 3, 1901 – November 2, 1963) was the first President of the Republic of Vietnam (1955–63). ... General Motors Corporation NYSE: GM, also known as GM, is a United States-based automobile maker with worldwide operations and brands including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Daewoo, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab, and Vauxhall. ... Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah (February 8, 1903–December 6, 1990) usually known as the Tunku (a princely title in Malaysia), and also called Bapa Kemerdekaan (Father of Independence) or Bapa Malaysia (Father of Malaysia), was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya... The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the elected head of government of Malaysia. ... The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) is an art gallery, open to the public, and located in The Domain in Sydney, Australia. ... James Gleeson (born 21 November 1915) is one of Australias most well known surrealist artists, as well as a poet, critic, writer and curator. ...

Prizes and honours

In 1943, Dobell's work of Joshua Smith "Portrait of an artist" was awarded the Archibald Prize. This was contested in 1944 by two unsuccessful artists who brought a lawsuit against Dobell and the Gallery's Board of Trustees in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The award was upheld but the ordeal left Dobell an emotionally disturbed and he retreated in 1945 to his sister's home at Wangi Wangi on Lake Macquarie, where he began to paint landscapes. Dobell did not like fame and it nearly destroyed him. The Archibald Prize is regarded as the most important portraiture prize, and is the most prominent of all arts prizes, in Australia. ... The Supreme Court of New South Wales is the highest court in the Australian State of New South Wales. ... Lake Macquarie is a lake, a city and a Local Government Area of Newcastle located 150km north of Sydney, Australia, and immediately (20km) south of Newcastle. ...

In 1948 Dobell entered "Margaret Olley" in the Archibald and won; he also won the Wynne prize for "Storm approaching Wangi". In 1959 Dobell again won the Archibald for "Dr E. G. MacMahon".

Under the British honours system then applying in Australia, Dobell was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1965 and was Knighted in 1966. The honours system of the United Kingdom is a means of rewarding personal bravery, achievement or service to the country. ... Commanders Badge of the Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions, in decreasing order of seniority: Knight or Dame Grand... A silver statue of an armoured knight, created as a trophy in 1850 For the chess piece, see knight (chess). ...


He died in 1970 at Wangi. On January 19th, 1971 The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation was formed and became the sole beneficiary of the artist's estate.


Dobell's style is unique in being able to adapt to suit the character of his subject. This was best described by James Gleeson; "One of the astonishing things about Dobell's portraiture is his ability to adjust his style to the nature of the personality he is portraying.... If the character of his sitter is broad and generous, he paints broadly and generously. If the character is contained and inward looking, he uses brushstrokes that convey this fact. In his later portraits one has only to look at a few square inches of a painted sleeve to know what sort of person is wearing it."

This chameleon-like ability made his work vary from Impressionism to Expressionism. Impressionism was a 19th century art movement, that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists who began publicly exhibiting their art in the 1860s. ... On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ...

What typifies Dobell's work is the elongation or dramaticisation of features of his models or the landscape. This led to the Joshua Smith portrait being called a 'caricature' or 'cartoon' (the Archibald is a 'portrait' competition) in the court case.

Dobell was capable of displaying crisp objectiveness one moment and fleshy satire which reflected a subjective, somewhat darker view of the world the next. His works include portraits, figures and landscapes. He was and remains arguably Australia's most talented and successful portrait artist.

Among private and other public holdings, examples of Dobell's work are exhibited in the Newcastle Region Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. National Gallery of Australia The National Gallery of Australia is a major art gallery (museum) in Canberra, Australia. ... Canberra is the capital of the Commonwealth of Australia and, with a population of just over 323,000, is also Australias largest inland city. ...

His sensibilities for painting males was almost certainly influenced by his homosexuality; however, this is scarcely mentioned in the literature and was not widely known know much less discussed during his lifetime. Yet, his early male nude studies and paintings illustrate this aspect of his work: Notable are 'The Strapper' (1941), and particularly 'The Billy Boy' (1943) with one of Dobell's most iconic references to homosexuality in which the torso of laborer Joseph Westcott has his flabby flesh barely covered by a thin, loose, white singlet. Since its coining, the term homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ...


The following are Dobell's Solo Exhibitions:

  • 1942 'Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition' Art Gallery of New South Wales, 19 March-16 April
  • 1944 'William Dobell', David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, 1-26 August
  • 1954 'William Dobell, exhibition of paintings', David Jones' Art Gallery, 27 January-17 February
  • 1959 'The Art of William Dobell' National Gallery Society of Queensland, Finney Isles Gallery, Brisbane, August-September
  • 1960 'William Dobell', Museum of Modern Art of Australia, Melbourne, 17 May-10 June
  • 1960 'Dobell loan exhibition', Newcastle City Art Gallery, 22 June-30 July
  • 1960 'Ten Dobell portraits', David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney, 4-16 July
  • 1960 'Paintings and Drawings by William Dobell', John Martin and Co., Adelaide, Adelaide Festival of the Arts
  • 1964 'William Dobell paintings from 1926-1964', Art Gallery of New South Wales, 15 July-30 August
  • 1964 'William Dobell exhibitions', Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, November
  • 1965 'William Dobell, first London exhibition', Commonwealth Arts Festival, QANTAS Gallery, London, 16 Sept.-2 Oct.
  • 1970 'Sir William Dobell recent paintings', Newcastle City Art Gallery, 3-26 April
  • 1970 'Paintings and Drawings by Sir William Dobell', Girl Guides Association of New South Wales, Robert Wardrop Galleries, Sydney, 26 September-1 October
  • 1985 'William Dobell. The Painting of a Portrait', Lake Macquarie Community Gallery, 7 February-10 March; S. H. Ervin Gallery, 21 March-28 April
  • 1993 'William Dobell exhibitions', David Jones Art Gallery, 1-21 April
  • 1997-1998 'William Dobell; the painter's progress,' The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 14 February-27 April 97; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, 7 May-6 July 97; Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne, 29 July-21 September 97; Queensland Art Gallery, 25 October-7 December 97; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 8 January-1 March 98

Brisbane by night Brisbane by day Brisbane is the capital city of the state of Queensland, Australia. ... The University of Sydney The University of Sydney, established in 1850, is the oldest university in Australia, and it is located in Sydney, the capital city of the state of New South Wales. ... The City of Melbourne Melbourne is the capital and largest city of the state of Victoria, and the second largest city in Australia (after Sydney), with a population of 3. ... Adelaide skyline as seen from Victoria Square The Adelaide CBD as seen from the Mount Lofty Ranges Adelaide is the capital city of the Australian state of South Australia. ... Bendigo is a large regional town in central Victoria, Australia, located in the City of Greater Bendigo. ... QF may also mean Quick firing in British artillery terminology. ... Girl Guides was founded as the female version of Lord Robert Baden-Powells Boy Scouts, in 1910 with the assistance of his sister Agnes Baden-Powell. ... Motto: Ubertas et Fidelitas (Fertility and Faithfulness) Nickname: The Apple Isle Other Australian states and territories Capital Hobart Government Governor Premier Const. ...

See also

Australia is home to perhaps the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world - that is, those of the Aboriginal Australians, an artistic tradition that began to receive international recognition in the late 20th century. ...

External links

  • biography

  Results from FactBites:
William Dobell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1121 words)
William Dobell was born in Cooks Hill, a working class neighbourhood of Newcastle, New South Wales.
In 1929 Dobell was awarded the Society of Artists' Travelling Scholarship and travelled to England to the Slade School where he studied under Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks and William Orpen.
Dobell was capable of displaying crisp objectiveness one moment and fleshy satire which reflected a subjective, somewhat darker view of the world the next.
A Biography of Sir William Dobell (932 words)
William Dobell was born in 1899 in Cooks Hill, Newcastle NSW, into a working class family of six children.
In 1929 Dobell was awarded the Society of Artists' Travelling Scholarship and travelled to England to study at the Slade School under Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks and William Orpen.
Dobell's 1943 work of Joshua Smith "Portrait of an artist" which was awarded the Archibald was contested in 1944 by two unsuccessful artists who brought a lawsuit against Dobell and the Gallery's Board of Trustees in the Supreme Court.
  More results at FactBites »



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