Country:Napperty Station (Tjuirri), Mount Allan, Mt Wedge (Kerrinyana), Papunya
Language group: Anmatyarre
Clifford Possum was one of Australia’s most well known and well respected Aboriginal artists.
He was born around 1932 at Napperby Station, north-west of Alice Springs and worked as a stockman until his mid-twenties.
His artistic career began in the 1950’s carving wooden snakes and goannas however it wasn’t until the 1970’s, when Geoffrey Bardon started the Papunya Tula Artists that Clifford, under the tutelage of his brother Tim Leura, began to paint. He then went on to become the Chairman of Papunya Tula Artists throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clifford’s paintings were of a style and scale that had not been seen before and his work bridged the gap between Aboriginal art and contemporary Australian art, as well as revolutionising the way that Indigenous art and culture was perceived worldwide.
The inspiration and content for his paintings came from his “father” One Pound Jim Tjungarrayi and his travels as a stockman, which gave him an intimate knowledge of his traditional Aboriginal lands and beyond. He is best known for his Love Story paintings however also paints Worm Dreaming, Possum Dreaming, Bushfire Dreaming, Goanna Dreaming and Honey Ant Dreaming however what sets Clifford’s paintings apart is his use of dots to create a three dimensional image and it is imperative that his paintings be seen not only for their colour, composition and balance but also for their mythological details.
Clifford Possum received the Order of Australia in 2002 and his work is held in major public and private collections throughout the world.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
University of Western Australia, Perth
Parliament House, Canberra
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide
1987, Paintings of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Avant Galleries, Melbourne
1988, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri Paintings 1973-1986, Institute
of Contemporary Arts, London
1990, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
1974, Anvil Art Gallery, Albury, New South Wales, Australia.
1980, The Past and Present of the Australian Aborigine, Pacific
Asia Museum, Los Angeles
1980, Papunya Tula, Macquarie University Library, Sydney.
1981-82, Aboriginal Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art
Gallery of Western Australia, Australian Museum, Queensland Art Gallery
1982, Perspecta (with Tim Leura), Sydney.
1983, XVII Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo.
1984, Painters of the Western Desert: Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri,
Paddy Carroll Tjungurrayi and Uta Uta Tjangala, Adelaide Arts festival
1984, Aboriginal Art, an Exhibition Presented by the Australian Institute
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra
1985, Dot and Circle, a retrospective survey of the Aboriginal acrylic
paintings of Central Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne
1985, The Face of the Centre: Papunya Tula Paintings
1971-1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1987, Circle Path Meander, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1987, Aboriginal Art from the Central Desert and Northern Arnhem Land,
Community Arts Centre, Brisbane
1988, Dreamings, the art of Aboriginal Australia, The Asia Society
Galleries, New York.
1988, The Fifth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art
Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1989, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art Westpac Gallery,
Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney [through Lauraine Diggins Fine Art]
1989, Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1989, Papunya Tula: Contemporary Paintings from Australia’s Western Desert,
John Weber Gallery, New York,
1990, l’ete Australien a’ Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France.
1990, Songlines, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes a Court
Collection, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, Lake
Oswego Center for the Arts, United States of America
1991, Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court, Canberra
1991, Alice to Penzance, The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London
1991, Australian Aboriginal Art from the Collection of Donald Kahn, Lowe
Art Museum, University of Miami, USA
1991, Canvas and Bark, South Australian Museum, Adelaide.
1992, Crossroads-Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia,
National Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo
1993, Tjukurrpa, Desert Dreamings, Aboriginal Art from Central Australia
(1971-1993), Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth WA
1993/4, ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring: Kunstammlung
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana
Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
1994, Dreamings – Tjukurrpa: Aboriginal Art of the Western Desert; The
Donald Kahn collection, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich
1994, Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National
Gallery of Victoria.
1994, Yiribana, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Details: Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, bears artist’s name and title on Art Gallery of South Australia, Clifford Possum Tjapalatjarri Retrospective Tour label, on the protective foam core backing attached to the reverse of stretcher, 202 x 337.5 cm
Auction Price: $2,400,000
Auction House: Sotheby’s Australia, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24/07/2007, Lot No. 114