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Published Hodgkinson Painting of Ubirr Mural & Book

$795.00
Frank George Hodgkinson (Australian, 1919-2001). Watercolor, "Ubirr mural of Xray fish, turtles and small food animals - dimensions: 2 metres deep by 15 metres long." ca. 1960s. Also included is the artist's book entitled, "Frank Hodgkinson's Kakadu and the Arnhem Landers" (Weldons: Australia, 1987) that features this painting on pages 170-171 and a dedication to Betty Silverstein, the former owner of this piece, on the frontispiece. This watercolor was inspired by Hodgkinson's fascination with the Aboriginal rock art paintings at the Ubirr (Obiri) rock shelter and is rendered in his signature style which harmoniously blends the figural subject with an abstract sensibility. Hodgkinson spent years of travel in the northern wilderness of Australia studying and recording the land, its inhabitants, and their culture. His artwork is a personal response to the flora and fauna of this landscape as well as an homage to Aboriginal art. Size: 23" W x 17" H (58.4 cm x 43.2 cm); 30.5" W x 24" H (77.5 cm x 61 cm) including custom matting and framing

In this composition, the artist's poetic text beneath the watercolor image begins, "Squinting from direct sun on open plain the eyes adjust slowly to Ubirr's dense shade and the rock's painted images - mostly of fish, barramundi, salmon-tailed and eel-tailed catfish, their bones and internal organs depicted in polychrome Xray style." Hodgkinson continues with the following informative passage to compliment his painting, "Though simple forms of this art are found in other parts of the world Xray painting of such complexity and virtuosity is unique to this area of Arnhem Land. Like most great art of the past Aboriginal rock art at its peak is a manifestation of spritual beliefs. Their deeply rooted sense of spirituality and of innovation expressed in widely varied styles place the Ubirr paintings above the cave art of Lascaux and Les Eysees in France, Altamira in Spain and the Bushmen of South Africa. And scientific investigation of the Ubirr occupation site has yielded evidence of man's earliest known graphic expression - 25,000 years b.p. This predates the Palaeolithic sites of Europe by 6,000 years."

Frank George Hodgkinson was born in Sydney in 1919. He studied art with Dattilo Rubbo and Sydney Long. During WW II, he served in North Africa with the Australian Imperial Forces, campaigned against the Vichy French in Syria and on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. Later as a war artist, he recorded the landings in Borneo. Immediately post war he studied at L’ Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris and with Bernard Meninsky at the Central School of Art in London. Between 1947 and 1953, he lived and worked in Paris, Florence, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and London. From 1958, he returned to work and exhibit in Europe, living mostly in Spain and in the USA. He returned to Australia in 1971 to live in North Queensland, Melbourne and Sydney where in 1973 he designed and built a house and studio in the Hawksbury River sandstone country where he lived and worked until his death in 2001.

This painting was published in "Frank Hodgkinson's Kakadu and the Arnhem Landers" (1967) - pages 170 and 171. A copy of this book is included with this watercolor and features a dedication on the frontispiece that reads, "To Betty and 'Counterpart' with love and appreciation of your great effort - from Kate and Frank Hodkinson 4 - VII -07".

Condition: Minute loss to margin above the image. Otherwise both painting and framing are excellent. The book still has its jacket and is also in very good condition with a signed dedication on the frontispiece.

Provenance: private Palm Desert, California, USA collection; acquired by descent from Maurice (Red) Silverstein who was President of MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios) International and Betty Silverstein, known as Betty Bryant, who was a successful actress in Australia prior to marrying Red. Always very active socially in New York City, the couple knew many famous artists, writers, and actors in the 1950's - 1970's.

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