The Art Gallery of New South Wales will be exhibiting almost 30 works, some not seen in public before, by Australian abstractionist Carl Plate (1909-77). Included among these works from the Gallery’s collection and the artist’s estate, is his masterpiece Graph segments 1963-64. This exhibition is part of the Australian collection focus series.
Carl Plate was one of Sydney's most important modern painters of the post-war period. Born in Perth and raised in Sydney, his travels and studies as a young man in Europe, the UK and America gave him an appreciation of international modernism, and a cosmopolitan outlook on life and art that were to have a significant influence on art in Sydney at that time.
Returning here in 1940, Plate established himself as an artist and advocate for modern art. His intuitive and expressive paintings and drawings were strongly founded in his interest in nature, landscape and organic forms, with a commitment to abstraction that avoided comparisons with identifiable subject matter or analytic interpretation. His work shows a remarkable affinity for harmonious form and composition, and particularly, lyrical colour.
Carl Plate was also significant as an art dealer and taste-maker - he ran the Notanda Gallery in Rowe Street established by his sister, the sculptor Margo Lewers, as a centre for books, art and posters, unique to Sydney.
In 1977 the Art Gallery of New South Wales mounted a survey exhibition of Plate’s work, shortly after which his masterpiece, Graph segments 1963-64 was acquired for the collection. The exhibition will include a number of works more recently acquired as well as works borrowed from his widow, Jocelyn Plate.
The exhibition is sponsored by Macquarie Bank.