John de Burgh Perceval was born in 1923 and as a child contracted polio, which left him permanently, lame. Largely self-taught, his early work attracted attention through Contemporary Art Society exhibitions. He became associated with The Angry Penguins and the Boyd family during the 1940’s and during the 1950’s painted Breughel inspired works.
In 1959 he won critical acclaim with the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting. After living three years in London he was awarded the first Creative arts fellowship at the ANU in 1965 and commercial success followed during the late 60’s and 70’s.
Through periods of ill health, hospitalization and family problems he stopped painting however in the 1980’s he returned to the studio with his creative spirit intact. By then he was increasingly recognized as one of the nations most important living artists. In 1992 a major retrospective of his work was curated by the National Gallery of Victoria. He died in the year 2000.
Perceval described his own work as concerned with ‘vitality and the pulse of life ‘ and indeed his many paintings, ceramics and drawings convey both his joyous exuberance and his own sometimes tortured struggles with life.
During, Ken McGregor was the personal assistant and manager of John Perceval for 20 years. He is the author of several catalogues and articles as well as three books Fifty Years of Perceval Drawings (Bay Books 1989) David Larwill (Craftsman House 1997) and Robert Jacks past unfolded (Craftsman house 2001) He also manages contemporary artists David Larwill and Hazel Dooney and is an art consultant and collector of contemporary Australian art.