Important Australian + International Fine Art
25 November 2009

Paul Partos

(1943 - 2002)

oil on linen

214.0 x 198.0 cm

signed, dated and inscribed verso:Paul Partos 1999 / Untitled

$28,000 - 35,000
Sold for $38,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 12 - 25 November 2009, Melbourne

Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Victoria

Catalogue text

Paul Partos, considered one of Australian art's most accomplished abstract painters, is represented in all state collections, as well as the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He achieved commercial success and public recognition whilst still in his 20s with a highly successful first solo exhibition in 1965 and subsequent inclusion in the landmark opening exhibition of the new National Gallery of Victoria - The Field in 1968. As noted by Maudie Palmer, Partos 'was a member of that remarkable group of young artists in the 1960s, which was deeply influenced by the New York School, that dramatically changed the shape of Australian modernism and firmly located it in an international context.'1

Dedicated to his craft, Partos was not swayed by his early prominence. With exceptional rigor, he remained committed to his task, exploring the abstract both as a painter and in the realms of the conceptual. Preoccupied with questions of form, context and perception, he had an austerity which manifested not only in his painting but also in his approach. In the late 1970s he was to transform his practice, relinquishing the sparse canvasses of the previous decade to reveal himself as a painter of considerable vivacity and emotion. With their painterly array of colours and forms against an ever-present grid, Partos had attained a maturity which here, in Untitled (Calendar Painting), 1999, proclaims an artist at the height of his powers.

Of these works, John McDonald states, 'There is a sense of mystery about these paintings, as though they are filled with burning secrets but that powerful emotions are held in check. In many works one can see how Partos has built up creative momentum, with one mark summoning up the next in a kind of dancing rhythm. At first glance Partos's work might seem extraordinarily beautiful; over time, that beauty gained depth and complexity.'2

1. Palmer, M., 'Foreword' in Partos - Final Works 2002, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria, 2006, p.5
2. McDonald, J., 'A bold explorer of inner space', Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 2003