Artist Charles Blackman dead at the age of 90
AUSTRALIAN artist Charles Blackman, known for his Alice in Wonderland series, has died aged 90.
The ABC reports Blackman died in Sydney this morning surrounded by family and friends a week after celebrating his 90th birthday.
Blackman was known as one of the country's greatest painters of the human condition and a great Australian artist of the post-war era.
He was one of the last of his generation of artists and was renowned for his paintings that riffed on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, in which his former wife Barbara was depicted as Alice, surrounded by teapots and white rabbits.
She had introduced him to the classic works of literature and they first listened to Lewis Carroll's tale of Alice and the topsy-turvy world via audiobook.
Between 1956 and 1957, he painted more than 30 Alice pictures and they became the most recognisable examples of Blackman's strongly coloured, narrative art, The Australian reported.
His son Auguste Blackman paid tribute to his respected father this morning, celebrating his great success and honouring his legacy.
"He painted out dreams. He painted the dreams of everyone," Auguste said today.
"I've never met such a man who could channel emotion the way Charles did in the paint.
"We have this wonderful legacy, it belongs to everyone, it's an incredible thing for one man to have achieved, that level of communication."
Blackman, who grew up in Sydney, left school at 13 and started his career as a press artist at the Sydney Sun where he drew outlines for Ginger Meggs cartoons.
According to theABC, he then moved to Brisbane in 1948 where he met the young writer Barbara Patterson, and they married in 1952 before moving to Melbourne. But after having three children together, she divorced him because of his drinking.
He required full-time care and this year moved to a nursing home.
Blackman's alcohol abuse led him to suffer a series of medical complications that left him with Korsakoff syndrome, a form of dementia.
While in Melbourne he became a member of a group of Melbourne painters known as the Antipodeans, which also included artists as Arthur Boyd, Robert Dickerson and Clifton Pugh.
Blackman then married Genevieve de Couvreur, who at the time was the 19-year-old friend of his daughter Christabel.
De Couvreur and Blackman had two children, Felix and Bertie, but divorced after eight years.
He was married to his third wife, Victoria Bower, for a short period and they had a son, Axiom.
Blackman was also a celebrated artist in the UK and Europe.