Robert Boyed Mitchell (1919 - 2002)

Pollock_after_Rualt_8219 December 1919
Born in Cobar, country New South Wales, the youngest of seven brothers and sisters

Early 1920’s      
Primary School, Leeton

Late 1920s        
Family moves to Bankstown and buys newsagency in Marrickville

Both parents die. Newsagency provides Mitchell children with survival

'Jackson Pollock after 'Rualt' (sic),
Mixed Media on Perspex
Mosman Art Collection

School, Marrickville. Repeats 6th class, no high school formation. Mitchell first encounters art through reproductions in English, American and Australian magazines

Joins army and volunteers for AIF, 8th division, Signals.
Sees Tom Bass drawing in Salvation Army Tent.
February, POW at Changi, Singapore. First time that he starts drawing. Enrols in art class under Murray Griffin in POW camp

December, volunteers to be moved to Japan. POW at Takatori Michi, suburb of Kobe. Takes to beauty of Japan immediately: architecture, landscape and cultivation

After release and return to Australia, fails first attempt to enter East Sydney Technical College to study in the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme

1947 – 1949   
Studies in evening classes at East Sydney Technical College, Strathfield Campus. Fellow students include John Coburn, Jon Molvig, Jean Weir, Bob White, Bert Flugelman, Cynthia Muller, Charles Doutney, Stan de Teliga

Wallace Thornton introduces Pierre Bonnard to art students: “a shock”

Exhibits with “Strath Art Group”, Hyde Park. Exhibits at Mosman Art Prize, with “Dee Why Landscape”. Lives in Calder Street, Dee Why

Leaves Australia with Jon Molvig and friends before final exams

London, spends April – June 1950 in Cassis, France

Visits to London, France, Toronto, New York. Disappointed not to see Abstract Expressionism at Museum of Modern Art in New York. Fascinated by Jackson Pollock’s and Willem de Kooning’s work

1951 – 1961    
Lives in Toronto, Canada, with frequent visits to New York. Sends paintings from Canada to Sydney exhibitions.

1952 and 54   
Exhibits in “Strath Art Group”, 4th and 6th annual exhibitions, Hyde Park, Sydney

1961 – 1980   
Lives in London. Interested in Pop art scene

Returns to Sydney to live in Neutral Bay. Dedicates himself fully to creating art. Developes mature style. Interviewed by Betty Churcher for her book “Molvig, the Lost Antipodean”, 1984, including references to Robert  Mitchell

Continues his art practice, concentrating in late years on small works and photography

19 March 2002   
Dies in Kamilaroi Retirement home, Lane Cove, Sydney, aged 82

Photograph by Robert Mitchell, February 1991: "All things considered, there's only Matisse", Picasso, when Matisse died."


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman
Many private collections, Australia

strath_1948    6 - 24 November: 10th Annual Interstate Exhibition, Contemporary Art Society

1949    "Strath Art Group”, Hyde Park

            Mosman Art Prize, enters “Dee Why Landscape”

1952     “Strath Art Group”,  4th annual exhibition, October, Hyde Park, Sydney

“Strath Art Group”, 6th annual exhibition, Hyde Park, Sydney

7 February – 20 March 2004: Abstraction and Obsession - The Collage Paintings of Bob Mitchell, Mosman  Art Gallery
, Sydney

Mosman Art Gallery: Collage Paintings of Robert MitchellMosman Art Gallery: Collage Paintings of Robert Mitchell

November 2004: The Collage Paintings of Bob Mitchell, Ken Done Gallery,
The Rocks, Sydney

Robert Mitchell Exhibition, Ken Done GalleryRobert Mitchell Exhibition, Ken Done Gallery

10 July - 13 August 2008:
National Art School: Lines of Fire - Armed Forces to Art School

An exhibition celebrating the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme (CRTS) students at the National Art School from 1944,
curated by Deborah Beck and Katie Dyer

National Art School Lines of Fire Exhibition Catalogue CoverRobert Mitchell's POW diaries are exhibited, as well as works from his student time at the National Art School, together with works by fellow students such as Tom Bass, John Coburn, Bert Flugelman, Norman Hetherington, Robert Klippel, Jon Molvig, Tony Tuckson and Guy Warren.

The 80 page
full colour exhibition catalogue presents the artists' works from the war, their time at the National Art School and later works. All works exhibited are listed and many are illustrated, among them Robert Mitchell's works.

Impressions from the Lines of Fire exhibition

National Art School Lines of Fire Guy Warren, Bert FlugelmannNational Art School Lines of Fire Exhibition Opening

Peter Cosgrove, Bert Flugelmann, Guy Warren, Katie Dyer,               
Deborah Beck

National Art School Lines of Fire Mitchell POW diary
National Art School Lines of Fire Robert Mitchell
National Art School Lines of Fire Robert Mitchell

Copyright Estate of Robert Boyed Mitchell
Created by Banziger Hulme Fine Art 2007

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