THE CITY 6AM, 1989-90

Important Australian + International Fine Art
9 May 2007

Rick Amor

born 1948
THE CITY 6AM, 1989-90

oil on canvas

129.5 x 162.5 cm

signed and dated lower left: Rick Amor '90 dated and inscribed verso: The City 6am/ Dec 89

$60,000 - 80,000
Sold for $78,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 1 - 9 May 2007, Melbourne

Niagara Galleries, Melbourne (label attached verso)
Private collection, Melbourne
Deutscher~Menzies, Melbourne, 2 September 2003, lot 23
Private collection, Sydney


The City and Beyond, La Trobe University Gallery, National Tour, July 1990-1991, cat. 2 (label attached verso)


Catalano, R., 'The Challenge of Depicting Life as it really is', The Age, exhibition review, 1 August 1990

Catalogue text

Although he has never lived near the centre of Melbourne, Amor knows this mysterious city intimately. He visits it often, generally with a camera, and has made a habit of recording anything he thinks he might like to use in his paintings. Moreover, he frequently consults the albums in which he keeps his snapshots and every time he does so he makes a point of rearranging the images so that unsuspected conjunctions come about. These random conjunctions have, on occasion, led directly to compositions.'1

Frequently described as the 'heir of the Antipodeans', Rick Amor is renowned for his paintings of Melbourne- from the suburban Frankston of his childhood to the narrow lanes of the city- which now rival those of Albert Tucker in their resonance and authority.

Far from being literal translations however, Amor's urban landscapes such as the present have evolved over a number of years and consequently reveal several layers of substrata- foremost among which is the artist's childhood memories of visiting the city once or twice a year, with these impressionsnow determining which parts of Melbourne he chooses to portray; as Amormuses, '...the places I look for are the places that remind me that Melbourne hasn't changed.'2 Equally influential has been the artist's youthful reading of contemporary literature concerning cities, from T.S. Eliot's poetic verse to the classic dystopian texts of George Orwell and Franz Kafka.

Betraying that disquieting sense of beauty and mystery that is the essence of Amor's vision, indeed City 6am 1989-90 encapsulates well the intensely poetic character which Myra Morris (the artist's aunt) had attributed to Melbourne nearly half a century earlier in her publication on the country's major cities, Australian Landscape (1944): 'Seen through the low-lying mists that hang about the River Yarra in the early morning, Melbourne, with floating spires and domes and the ghostly structure of innumerable bridges, seems a city ethereal and without substance, a city of enchantment.'3

1. Catalano, G., The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and His Art, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2001, p.148
2. Amor cited ibid., p.149
3. Morris cited ibid., p.148