Brian DUNLOP (1938-2009), painter, draughtsman, and printmaker, was one of the most beloved exponents of Australian figurative painting. His formative years were spent in the south of Europe, where, painting alongside Justin O’Brien and Jeffrey Smart, he had developed a distinct painterly style, which is notable for the clarity of vision and inner luminosity.
Dunlop’s artistic output includes portraits, interiors, landscapes, and still lives. His works are distinguished by an uncluttered compositional structure, an illusory depth with an emphasis on linear perspective, and virtuoso rendering of fabrics and drapery folds. His landscapes and interiors are often populated by insightful and psychologically penetrative character studies of family members, models, and friends. Gentle, harmonious colour schemes of his paintings bear influence of the early Renaissance Masters. The overall colour palette is frequently enlivened by the strategically placed, vibrantly coloured fabrics or intricately patterned Oriental rugs. The souvenirs of his extensive travels around Europe and the Middle East make their appearance in his works through the inclusion of pots, figurines, and garments. Dunlop’s diverse artistic output is united by his strive to capture, in every composition, the transient effects of sunlight, which fills his interiors, enhances illusory depth of his landscapes, and, when subdued, creates a mysteriously intricate shadow play.
During his lifetime, Dunlop’s works were a subject of survey exhibitions and several monographs. The artist had won and was a finalist in prestigious art awards. He had enjoyed curatorial interest and a dedicated collectors’ following. He was a highly respected portrait painter, and his portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which was commissioned to celebrate Victoria’s 150th anniversary, is currently gracing the walls of the Government House in Melbourne. His works can be found at the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, numerous state, regional and tertiary institutions and respected corporate and private collections.