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John Brack

1920 – 1999

John Brack (1920–1999), artist, grew up in Melbourne and studied at the National Gallery School at night while working as a junior insurance clerk. After war service he resumed his studies, and in 1949 secured a job in the NGV’s Print Room, where he worked until 1951, leaving to take up the position of art master at Melbourne Grammar School. His paintings succeeded immediately; his first exhibited work, Barber’s Shop, was purchased for the NGV in 1953 as was Collins Street, 5p.m. three years later. In 1962 he became Head of the National Gallery Art School. Six years later, finally confident that he could make a living as a full-time artist, he resigned. He painted shopfronts, school yards, gardens and housing estates, nudes, office workers, ballroom dancers, jockeys, brides, drinkers, commissioned portraits and portraits of friends and family. In recent years The Bar 1954 and The Old Time 1969 have set new auction records for the sale of Australian paintings.

Updated 2018