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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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Kym Bonython

In their own words

Recorded 1962

Kym Bonython
Audio: 2 minutes

I’ve just produced a book of modern Australian painting and sculpture which covers the period of Australian art from 1950 to 1960. Since the death of Sidney Ure Smith in the late 40s, there really have been no publications of this nature produced, and I think the reason for this is that in a comparatively small country like Australia, the risk of publishing such a book has been too great for the professional publishing houses to feel that it’s warranted. So it remained to somebody who had the interest of Australian art very much at heart to more or less do the thing because he liked it and wanted to see Australian art more widely known throughout Australia and overseas.

Most of the Australian publicity seems to centre on the more conventional or conservative type of paintings such as Hans Heysen, which we don’t in any way belittle, but we are more concerned with the forward looking painting and sculpture in this country, and we feel that there is a great gap to be bridged with knowledge and what people think about Australian painting overseas, and up to date there has been no book that has even attempted to cover this area.

Therefore, we have sent information literature to galleries, libraries, museums, right throughout the world which we hope will result in this book being made available to a very, very wide number of countries, and thus to the world at large, as to just how vital a school we have here in Australia at the present time.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Kym Bonython 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.

Related people

Kym Bonython

Related information

Kym Bonython

'The man and his cap'

Portrait story

Former National Portrait Gallery Director, Andrew Sayers, describes John Brack's portrait of Kym Bonython.

Somewhere to hang your cap

Magazine article by Beatrice Thompson, 2007

A pair of portraits by John Brack; Portrait of Kym Bonython and Portrait of Mr Bonython's speedway cap combine to create a quirky depiction of their subject.

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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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency