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Eric Thake

1904 – 1982

Eric Thake (1904-1982), printmaker, painter and photographer, trained at the National Gallery School and the George Bell School and showed with the Contemporary Group in Melbourne between 1932 and 1938 before serving as an official war artist in the RAAF. While engaged in his thirty-year career in advertising, he held his first solo exhibition at Georges Gallery, Melbourne in 1947; he worked as a medical draughtsman at the University of Melbourne in 1956; and he designed postage stamps and covers for the journal Meanjin. Thake shared the 1941 Contemporary Art Society prize with James Gleeson. Sasha Grishin has written that Thake 'occupied that curious middle ground between being a leading modernist - arguably the first surrealist painter in Australia - and an artist committed to "demystifying" art and bringing art closer to the people. His satirical vignettes on the Australian art scene, in retrospect, read as an incisive commentary on Australian art and its audiences.' A retrospective of his work was held at the NGV in 1970; an exhibition of his cards, Christmas Cards, Eric Thake: Christmas greetings from Thake's flat was held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne in 2002

Updated 2018