Sleeping schoolgirl
Sleeping schoolgirl

Charles Blackman

1928 - 2018 Sleeping schoolgirl 1954
  • oil on board
101.2 cm x 76 cm

Charles Blackman's Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, marked a turning point in the artist's career, establishing his reputation as a significant painter of modern life in the postwar era.

Through his evocative depictions of uniformed, often solitary schoolgirls in urban settings pervaded by menacing undertones, Blackman explored the themes of alienation, vulnerability and innocence under threat.

He derived inspiration from a range of sources, including the notorious murder of a young girl in Melbourne, modern literature on the theme of adolescence, the lyrical poetry of John Shaw Neilson, and direct observations of children interacting in the city streets. Painted in tempera, enamel and oil on board the Schoolgirl images are rich in psychological power. After they were first exhibited at Peter Bray Gallery, Melbourne in May 1953, Heide founders John and Sunday acquired several examples, reinforcing their position as the first major collectors of Blackman's work.

Source: Museum of Modern Art Heide

© Charles Blackman/Copyright Agency, 2018

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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