Charles Blackman was born in Sydney in 1928. At 15 he was working at the Sydney Sun as a press artist and as a young man he had sporadic training at East Sydney Technical College. In the late 40’s he moved to Melbourne where he married Barbara Patterson and received the patronage of John Reed who drew the attention of art critics to his work. During the late 1950’s his success on both the national and international art scene became assured and he is now recognized as one of Australia’s most important and celebrated contemporary artists.
The dark disquieting aspect of his earliest works created early controversy and enhanced his reputation as an innovative artist worth watching. In the 1950’s he created his famous schoolgirl pictures followed by his “Alice in Wonderland “ series all of which are now trademark Blackman images. His success launched him on overseas travels and won him the 1960 Helena Rubenstein Scholarship. Exhibitions in London placed him at the forefront of the Australian contemporary art movement and enhanced his national reputation. Successful exhibitions were held in most Australian capital cities during the 60’s and 70’s. During the 70’s he painted a series of works of cats and gardens which proved enormously popular and were translated into etchings and screenprints. Blackman has always been a prolific and energetic artist working in various media including painting, drawing and printmaking. In 1977 he received an OBE for his services to the arts .In 1993 a major retrospective of his work was toured to the Victorian, Queensland and West Australian State galleries. This exhibition reinforced his reputation as a major figure in contemporary Australian art. His work is represented in all state collections, most regional and university collections as well as important corporate collections both in Australia and overseas.