Berlin, Germany 1936 – Sydney Australia 2013

  • Canada 1956-58
  • Australia from 1959

Big black 1969 Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas Support: stretcher

Dimensions: 167.5 h x 275.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1977
Accession No: NGA 77.170
  • The German-born Australian painter Gunter Christmann was always resistant to notions of style – the idea that an artist should work with a recognisable style or idiom. Basically self-taught. Christmann’s early work actively engaged with the dominant stylistic tendencies of the 1960s, including Op Art and Colour Field or Hard-edged Abstraction. Big black is an example of one of Christmann’s ‘sprinkle’ paintings, for which he flicked paint from a loaded brush across a canvas lying on the floor. The colours black and Yves Klein Blue, two of twentieth-century painting’s most loaded colours, compete with each other in an argument that in the end nullifies the ‘authority’ of each colour.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra