The Artists

Sir William Dargie

L.C. ROBSON, M.C., M.A., 1946

Born 1912

L.C. ROBSON, M.C., M.A., 1946
oil on canvas
126 x 90 cm
Collection: and © Sydney Church of England Grammar School, Sydney

This work was awarded the Archibald Prize for 1946.

The work is illustrated in the Peter Ross book 'Let's Face It' published in 1999, and Ross informs us in his entry for this work, that it was one of 79 works selected from the 153 works submitted for the Archibald Prize.

Overall, 314 works were rejected that year from a combined total of 535 entries for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes.

The prize money for the Archibald that year was noted as between 400 and 500 pounds, and the exhibition dates were from 18 January to 2 March 1947.

Anna Waldmann in her article on 'The Archibald Prize' published in the Summer 1982 edition of Art and Australia noted that,,
'In 1946, the first time the Trustees had to insist on a pre-selection to eliminate more than half of the entries, Dargie was awarded the prize for L.C.Robson M.C., M.A., a portrait which again drew harsh comments.'

Waldmann further noted that it was reported that the portrait
'belongs not only to a negative, indeed quite insipid class of portraiture, it is also extremely poorly designed and painted, even by its own inferior standards of realism.'

Ross also further noted that
'In 1946 traditional rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne boiled over when William Dargie, defending his fourth win, said he believed that the condemnation of his work was a Sydney problem. The other problem was 'modern art'.
"People who really like what is called 'modern art' lamented Dargie, are like people who have lost the taste for healthy food and have to be titivated all the time with sauces."

The sitter for Dargie's prize-winning portrait was Leonard Charles Robson M.C., M.A. Headmaster of Shore (Sydney Church of England Grammar School).

Further information on Leonard Charles Robson C.B.E. 1954, M.C., M.A. Oxon., BSc. Syd., can be located in the 1959 edition of 'Who's Who in Australia'.

Andrew Mackenzie

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Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

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