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Profile of the Australian portrait painter Sir William Dobell
Born William Dobell - Cookshill, Newcastle, Australia - 24th of September, 1899 / Died - 13th of May 1970
Popular William Dobell works include portrait paintings, often elongated and distorted, almost to the point of being caricatures. Dobell achieved a lot of public attention in Australia after the Archibald prize controversy, with his portrait of Joshua Smith.
William Dobell Profile
Gallery of popular portrait paintings by Australian artist Bill Dobell.
Browse quotations and comments on art and life by the Australian portrait painter.
Smith Archibald Controversy
The controversial Archibald winning painting of the artist Joshua Smith.
- "So long as people
expect paintings to be simply coloured photographs they get no individuality
and in the case of portraits, no characterisation. The real artist
is striving to depict his subjects character and to stress
the caricature, but at least it is art which is alive."
- "A sincere artist
is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what
is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which
is, in itself, a living thing."
- "I've never been
able to go out and paint. I've never liked drawing or painting in
public. I can't bring myself to that."
- "Joshua saw the
of the portrait all the time I was painting it. He gave me every
facility and was in no way critical when he saw the finished work..
he congratulated me on the portrait."
- "My best work was
always done and still is I think when I'm experimenting. If I stop
experimenting I feel it just becomes a drudgery. That's why I take
so long and my sitters get tired waiting for commissioned portraits.
If they commission me they have to wait years sometimes because
I discard so many."
- "I never intended
to be a portrait painter. It was after the Joshua Smith painting
that people began asking me to do portraits but I never wanted to
be commissioned to paint portraits. I like to choose my own subject
and make a character study from it."