19 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
1930s Both parents die. Newsagency provides Mitchell children with survival
'Jackson Pollock after 'Rualt' (sic), 1982 Mixed Media on Perspex Mosman Art Collection
1920s-1930’s School, Marrickville. Repeats 6th class, no high school formation. Mitchell first encounters art through reproductions in English, American and Australian magazines
1941 Joins army and volunteers for AIF, 8th division, Signals. Sees Tom Bass drawing in Salvation Army Tent. 1942 February, POW at Changi, Singapore. First time that he starts drawing. Enrols in art class under Murray Griffin in POW camp
1942 December, volunteers to be moved to Japan. POW at Takatori Michi, suburb of Kobe. Takes to beauty of Japan immediately: architecture, landscape and cultivation
1945 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
1948 Wallace Thornton introduces Pierre Bonnard to art students: “a shock”
1949 Exhibits with “Strath Art Group”, Hyde Park. Exhibits at Mosman Art Prize, with “Dee Why Landscape”. Lives in Calder Street, Dee Why
1949 Leaves Australia with Jon Molvig and friends before final exams
1950 London, spends April – June 1950 in Cassis, France
1951 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
1980s 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
1990s 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."
Represented Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman Many private collections, Australia
Exhibitions 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
1954 “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
November 2004: The Collage Paintings of Bob Mitchell, Ken Done Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney
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 Robert 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
Peter Cosgrove, Bert Flugelmann, Guy Warren, Katie Dyer, Deborah Beck
Copyright Estate of Robert Boyed Mitchell Created by Banziger Hulme Fine Art 2007