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"The determined" Self_portrait
, 2002

by George Foxhill

oil and resin on canvas (sheet: 170.0 cm x 120.0 cm)

George Foxhill studied art in his native Austria, attending the Kunstegewerbeschule and the Volkshochschule in Salzburg after the Second World War. He responded to the expressionist legacy of the city and the hardship and rude vigour of the times, and his lifetime’s work evidences affinities with Austrian expressionists such as Oskar Kokoshka whom he met in his youth. With his wife Rosa, Foxhill migrated to Australia in 1956. Two years later, the couple moved into the raw, newly established suburb of Dickson, now an inner-city area of Canberra. Foxhill’s strength of purpose and belief in himself carried him through years of cultural aridity in the Australian Capital Territory, in which he was one of very few serious expressionist painters. Finally, in the 1980s, the power of his portraits describing emotional and psychological states recognition began to be recognised. The National Portrait Gallery held an exhibition of Foxhill’s work, curated by Michael Desmond, in the last year of the artist’s life. Foxhill said ‘A painter paints not because he wants to represent what he sees and is competent to do so, but because the visible world stimulates him to satisfy his deep urge to shape his understanding of life and nature.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2007
Accession number: 2007.38