Charles Blackman is one of the most important and original of Australian painters. Renowned for his images of children, flowers, cats, the sea and scenes inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Blackman is primarily interested in portraying universal emotions and the human condition. He created haunting images of grave women and girls, detached from their surroundings, absorbed in day dreams or games and oblivious to reality. His 1950s Schoolgirls series, his most famous work, conveys a sense of foreboding and vulnerability that underpins much of his work.
Charles Blackman was born in Sydney on 12 August 1928. He left school at thirteen and worked with the Sydney Sun newspaper, while doing night classes in drawing and design at the East Sydney Tech.
In the late 1940's he met New Zealand Poet, Lois Hunter who introduced him to the work of writers and artists, such as Arthur Rimbaud and T.S.Eliot. Blackman moved to Melbourne in 1950 and married Barbara Patterson, a poet, in 1951. She had impaired sight and her reliance on Blackman's eyesight is thought to have sharpened his observation. His empathy with her predicament led him to focus on the face, depicting figures with huge, dark, expressive eyes.
In 1959 he became a member of the Antipodeans a group including artists such as Fred Williams, John Brack and Arthur Boyd. Blackman became known internationally after spending some time in London in the 1960s. In 1977 he was awarded an OBE.
He currently lives and works in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. He is represented in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; all Australian State and many regional galleries; and many major galleries, university and private collections both in Australia and overseas. Sadly Blackman now describes himself as being too poor to own an original Blackman.