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Noel Counihan

In their own words

Recorded 1961

Noel Counihan
Audio: 2 minutes

My aim as an artist is to give as vivid a realistic picture as I’m capable of, of contemporary life, using modern methods. I don’t feel that I’m an innovator in any way, technically. I take what my times give me and whatever is personal in my work is very much a matter of my personal response to life and my outlook.

People, particularly common people, the ordinary working man and working woman, are in the main at the core, the very heart of my work. I feel that in that way I am doing what I can in the tradition of the founders of Australian painting, of painters like Roberts and McCubbin, the realistic painters who were the fathers of our tradition. I feel that my work is in, at least in their tradition, in contemporary terms and whatever I can do to add a picture of our times to our art, well then, I will do it.

I think every artist has something of the philosopher in him; he is concerned to some extent with the meaning of what he sees.

In my own case, I have been and still am intensely interested in human relations, in people’s attitudes and behaviour to each other, not just on a personal level but on the bigger, social level.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Noel Counihan 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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Noel Counihan

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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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