George BALDESSIN, Personage with striped dress. Enlarge 1 /1


San Biagio di Callalta, Italy 1939 – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1978

  • Australia from 1949
  • England, Italy 1962-63
  • Japan 1966
  • Brazil, France 1975-77

Personage with striped dress. 1969 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper etching and aquatint, printed in black ink, from one plate Support: wove paper
Edition State: Published state
Impression: artist's proof

Primary Insc: Signed and dated lower left below image, George Baldessin 69'. Titled lower left below plate-mark in black pencil, Personage with striped dress'. Inscribed lower left below plate-mark in black pencil, 'A/P'.
Dimensions: plate-mark 50.7 h x 50.6 w cm sheet 71.7 h x 66.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of George Baldessin, 1975
Accession No: NGA 75.506
  • Gift to the Australian National Gallery, from the artist, Melbourne, December 1975.
For Baldessin, sculpture and printmaking were ideal studio companions and seeing them side by side led the artist to appropriate materials and ideas from one for the other. Every major series of etchings was summarised by a sculpture in which the artist undertook to express in three dimensions what before had been carried out in the etching plate.

Memory Jockisch Holloway1

Personage with striped dress juxtaposesthe dark velvety tone of the aquatint with the brutal nature of the etching marks, to highlight inherent sexuality; it also demonstrates Baldessin’s technical mastery. Impressed into a thick rag paper, the deeply etched lines and the rich aquatint add texture to the contorted yet appealing image, which echoes a recurring motif in many of the sculptures and prints in Baldessin’s oeuvre — the amorphous figure.

George Baldessin arrived in Australia from Italy in 1949. He attended the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1958 until 1961, studying painting and later printmaking and sculpture. In 1962, he travelled to London to study at the Chelsea Art School, and studied under Marino Marini at the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. In 1967, he travelled to Japan on a scholarship and renewed his interest in Japanese Ukiyo-e coloured woodblock prints which had influenced the feeling and format of his art.

Baldessin, regarded as highly professional, complex and enigmatic, won numerous prizes and participated in many major exhibitions. Leaving an impressive legacy through his body of work, George Baldessin was tragically killed in 1978 in a car accident at the age of 39.

Susan Herbert 2002

1 Memory Jockisch Holloway in ‘Venus in Sackcloth: Eroticism and ritual in the work of George Baldessin’ in Robert Lindsay and Memory Jockisch Holloway George Baldessin: Sculpture and etchings Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria 1983 p.25.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002