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Desiderius Orban

In their own words

Recorded 1962

Desiderius Orban
Audio: 2 minutes

The first time I went to Paris to study it was in 1906. Therefore, it’s quite possible to understand that my art went through different phases. But I was never a realistic painter in the sense of the camera. Today I work on abstract paintings as well as on descriptive paintings – in its own way descriptive – and I would say that my style today differs quite positively from what I did in my younger days.

I [do] not any longer put together a few bunches of flowers and a few apples and napkins, like Cezanne did, and try to paint it in the way he did, which I did when I was a young artist. Today, sensations come to me either from the outside or from my inside world. To give you an example, I put my cushions on my bed one morning, that it should be a bit aired, and suddenly I felt that this is a fantastic sensation I have by looking at these funny shapes of these cushions, and I painted a picture which I call The Ghosts. When I started I didn’t know what [would] come out of it, but I had a definite sensation by looking at these pillows that there is something in it which is new and strange and different from the routine subject matter.

If I paint anything from purely imagination, I often don’t know what I am starting with. During the process of painting, slowly it develops into something which is stronger and stronger in my mind, and I can’t any longer escape from it to go to a definite and positive way.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Desiderius Orban is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Desiderius Orban

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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