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Richard Larter

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Richard Larter
Audio: 2 minutes

I could at one stage draw likenesses of people’s heads. But I found that when I wanted to draw the body, the drawing deteriorated in quality the further away from the head you got. So I decided that I would draw nudes and improve my technique.

I started drawing nudes, using my wife as a model. At this time I was painting abstract pictures, I was virtually doing sort of a private record of my wife – well she was 17 when I married her and you get sort of gradual change from girlhood to womanhood, sort of thing – and I was sort of creating this private record. After a while I became quite good at this and I thought, well I can use this in my paintings.

I find that I’ll draw anybody in the nude if they’ll pose, sort of thing. I enjoy drawing nudes. Then there’s the perverse side of it – I know that they upset people, they upset my mother and she was the first person to be upset. Then as I started to exhibit and send pictures away, people started writing things and saying things about the nudes. I think this made me a little more daring, so instead of being discreet nudes they became very indiscreet nudes. I suppose you say, a Larter nude, you expect to see all the main sexual characteristics. Well fair enough, give a dog a bad name and he’ll live up to it. I’ve certainly done this, I’ve made it more and more and more obvious, I suppose. But I have such strange people asking me … I can remember being at an opening where a funny little solicitor was introduced to me and his whole idea of talking to me was that he thought that if he kept with me long enough eventually we’d get to the girls and he’d have a fine time. I suppose this does sort of produce this sort of reaction in some people. But to me this isn’t the point of doing the work.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Richard Larter 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

Richard Larter

Related information

Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s
Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s
Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s
Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s

Pin-ups

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2008

Christopher Chapman describes the art and life of Australian artist Richard Larter.

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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