ROBERT DICKERSON (Australia, 1924 - 2015)
Serigraph / Screenprint
Serigraph / Screenprint
Title: The Paris Hat
Signed: Lower Image
Edition: P/P (Printer's Proof)
Image Size: 76cm x 56cm (Deckled Edging)
Art Condition: Excellent - New
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Principal, Martinez Art Dealer
Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia
ABN 36 561 407 649
Robert Dickerson was born in 1924 and grew up in Sydney during the 1930s Depression era. By the time he was 14 he was working in a factory while he trained as a boxer. He toured for four years with the Jimmy Sharman Boxing Troupe. "Boxing was purely about money. I was earning 16 shillings (A$1.60) working a 44-hour week and could make two to five pounds (A$4 to A$10) if I won a fight. Minutes in the ring seemed like years, but you cope with what you have to and we needed the money – badly."
Dickerson took up drawing at the age of five, mainly aeroplanes and warships. Later the people in streetscapes became his subject matter. He joined the RAAF as a guard and continued to sketch in his spare time. Inspired by Somerset Maugham's novel The Moon and Sixpence he spent the time painting island children using tent canvas and camouflage paint.
Back in Australia he resumed a life of poverty. By the age of 30, he was married with three small children. He shovelled coal to provide for the family, painting at weekends. Later the family lived in a caravan. He continued to find time to paint and, by the end of the 1950s, his work was being noticed.
He turned professional at 35 when he won 100 pounds ($200) in the 1957 Australian Women's Weekly fridge decorating competition. A small fortune then, the prize allowed him to buy more art materials and extend his techniques. Until then he had used whatever materials were available. He enjoyed art so much that he decided to make a living out of it. Some people liked his art however others didn't. He first met art when he was three at a horse show.
In the mid-1960s Dickerson remarried, had two more children and, despite a drinking problem, continued to paint. The marriage lasted eight years, with three more years fighting for custody of their children. He moved to Brisbane, showing at Johnstone Gallery, travelled, exhibited – at times in London, returned to Sydney and finally settled at Nowra.