[BLACKMAN, Charles] SHAPCOTT, Thomas (author). The Art of Charles Blackman. London; André Deutsch. 1989.
Folio. Original mid blue wide-weave cloth boldly blocked in gilt, preserved in pictorial dustwrapper; pp.[viii], ix-xiv + 266; with 200 plates in monochrome and colours printed on coated stock; a fine copy with a discreet contemporary inscription to front free endpaper, protected by an equally fine dustwrapper.
First edition. A seminal work on the art of Charles Raymond Blackman OBE (1928-2018), an Australian painter who achieved international recognition and acclaim for his haunting and dreamlike images of the vulnerable. For the first time the early years of his development are explored within a three-part biography over 81 pages. A total of 11 plates from Blackman,' Alice, in monochrome and colour, are reproduced here.
Blackman is particularly lauded in bookselling circles for his 1950s' series of paintings responding to Carroll' Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a text he came to in a unique fashion. At the time Blackman was married to his first wife Barbara who had a medical condition which left her blind. She would listen to recorded books and by that medium the artist was introduced to this nineteenth century children's classic, which was new to him, without ever coming into contact with a visual interpretation of the work. The long suite of "large, spectacular, various" paintings "crammed with visual inventiveness" which the book inspired were shown in the artist's second major exhibition in 1957 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Melbourne, and form a cornerstone in his work, playing on his natural love of surrealism. He was to describe them as "probably the freest pictures that I've painted". His powerful Alice artwork eventually appeared in book form in 1982, published by A.H. and A.W. Reed, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia.