Not Currently on Display
Pink lines (vertical) on red and purple 1970–73 is one of a series of gestural, double-panel paintings that Tony Tuckson completed for a solo exhibition in 1973, just months before his death at the age of 52.
Like many North American abstract expressionist paintings (but few Australian ones), Pink lines is very large, measuring more than two square metres, and its dazzling field of colour seems to surround us. At the same time, the pinkish-white lines overlaying the field bring to attention the physical surface of the painting. They also trace the artist’s presence, recording the sweep of his arm.
Born in Egypt, Tony Tuckson studied at art schools in London and Kingston upon Thames. After joining the Royal Air Force in 1939, he was stationed in Australia with a Spitfire squadron. He married ceramic artist Margaret Bisset in 1943, returning briefly to England at the end of the war before returning to Australia to study at East Sydney Technical College (1946–49).
Tuckson began work as an attendant at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1950, and was quickly promoted to Assistant Director. In 1957, he was appointed Deputy Director, a position he held for the rest of his life.
Tuckson was instrumental in establishing the indigenous collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1960–61 he organised a ground-breaking travelling exhibition of Aboriginal art, which also represented Australian art at the São Paulo Biennial.
‘Around this time, Tuckson’s own painting moved from domestic-inspired works to abstraction, to Abstract Expressionism, and, finally, to gestural painting.’1
1Daniel Thomas, ‘An introduction to Tony Tuckson 1921–1973’, in Tony Tuckson, Craftsman House, Roseville, NSW, p.40, 1989.