Talk: 50 Years On

Saturday 10 May 2014, 3.00pm - The Gallery

Admission free but please reserve a place

Dr Simon Pierse examines what has happened in the last half century to change the way that Australian art is perceived in Britain. He gave a version of this talk last Autumn in connection with the Royal Academy's major overview of Australian art and following on from the publication of his absorbing book 'Australian Art and Artists in London 1950-1965' in 2012.  

The talk is a chance to explore the reactions and reviews to Nolan and his peers from the first official post-war show of antipodean art in London in 1953 and onwards through the 20th century. A pivotal figure was Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery and subsequently Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Tate Britain this month opens a major exhibition 'Kenneth Clark - Looking for Civilisation' which examines Clark’s role as a patron and collector, art historian and broadcaster, celebrating his contribution to bringing art in the twentieth century, including Australian artists, to a more popular audience. The Tate show will include works by Nolan. 


Painter and art historian Simon Pierse trained at the Slade, the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence, and Essex University. He is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University School of Art. He is a member of the Royal Watercolour Society and has exhibited throughout Britain, and in Australia, Taiwan, India and the United States. As an art historian, Pierse has published internationally on British and Australian post-war art, contributing chapters to books: Impact of the Modern (Sydney University Press, 2008) and Australians in Britain (Monash University Press, 2009). His articles on Sidney Nolan and Sir Kenneth Clark, the 1961 Whitechapel Art Gallery exhibition Recent Australian Painting, paintings of Uluru by Michael Andrews and Lloyd Rees, and Antony Gormley’s Inside Australia installation, have appeared in Art & Australia, the Melbourne Art Journal, and Australian Studies. Pierse's award-winning book Australian Art and Artists in London, 1950-1965: an Antipodean Summer, was published in January 2012 with a grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He is director of AAiB: the Australian Artists in Britain research project.

Supported By

Arts Council England