Being Human The Graphic Works of George Baldessin

George Baldessin
3 May 19 October 2014
Heide Cottage
Linda Short
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George Baldessin was integral to the dynamic revival of printmaking in Melbourne during the late 1960s and into the ʼ70s. Renewed enthusiasm for the expressive possibilities of printmaking saw it develop as an important medium for a young generation of artists who, like Baldessin, were also sculptors and painters.

This exhibition focuses on Baldessin’s powerful graphic oeuvre, presenting prints and drawings in the Heide Collection created between the artist’s exhibition debut in 1964 and his untimely death in 1978, aged thirty-nine. Drawn from a recent gift from the artist’s estate the works will be shown together at Heide for the first time, complemented by a selection of prints by the artist’s contemporaries, including Roger Kemp, Les Kossatz, Jan Senbergs and Fred Williams, which provide a vivid context for considering this aspect of Baldessin’s art.

In his short but intensive career Baldessin attracted critical acclaim for his sophisticated command of intaglio printing and his radical approach to the human figure’s potential in art during a period dominated by modes of abstraction. The body and its bittersweet associations is the primary subject of the artist’s graphic work. The artist’s distinctive silvery-grey and black-and-white images of female nudes and dramatic figure tableaux—which draw on the surreal world of the circus and European New Wave cinema among other influences—are at once both emotionally confronting and poetic, offering meditations on the body as the concrete basis of experience.


Download the Being Human: The Graphic Works of George Baldessin Exhibition Brochure.