28 May – 14 Aug 2011 – Art Gallery of New South Wales
Italian-born Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo (1870-1955) is enshrined in Australian art history as the charismatic teacher and champion of the Sydney Moderns, who include Grace Cossington Smith, Roy de Maistre and Roland Wakelin.
The return of former pupil Norah Simpson from Europe in 1913 with reproductions of post-Impressionist masters such as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne, coupled with Dattilo-Rubbo’s enthusiasm for modern art, transformed his studio into the hub for Sydney’s avant-garde.
As an artist, Dattilo-Rubbo is best known for his social realist portraits of Sydney’s unconventional characters. His work is underpinned by strong draughtmanship and craftmanship acquired through academic training in Rome and Naples. However, the art of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists, which Dattilo-Rubbo championed, also filtered into his work.
This exhibition, with a focus on portraiture, pays homage to Dattilo-Rubbo through a selection of his paintings, watercolours and drawings, some loaned by the Manly Art Gallery, which he was instrumental in founding.