"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The passing of a legend.

It seems almost uncanny that on a visit to Mooloolabah yesterday
March 28, I happened to come across the gallery and display
mentioned in the article below, having always been an admirer of
his work, I was drawn in almost as if by some force, to admire some
marvelous paintings by Pro, John, and Kym Hart.

At this time I knew nothing of Pro's death, it was just the paintings
drawing me in.

Use this link to sample some of Pro's art. (thank you Maria.)

Pro Harts Last Stand.

By Damian Bathersby ART lovers from around the world will flock to

Mooloolaba in June for the unique chance to buy paintings from the
private collection of Aussie icon Pro Hart.

Sadly, the sale of pieces which Hart has stashed away over the past 50
years has been organised to mark the end of his prolific career which
has been cut short by motor neurone disease.

The 77-year-old whose uniquely Australian paintings hang in galleries
and private collections around the globe was diagnosed with the fatal
disease in December and is now so afflicted that he will never paint again.

His son David, who owns galleries in Mooloolaba and Noosa, said his dad
was in good spirits but frustrated he could no longer pursue his passion
for painting.

Coverage of Pro Hart's death by the Australian Press has been extensive.

The family have gratefully accepted the NSW Goverments offer of a State
funeral service to be held on Tuesday April 4 at Broken Hill, the outback city
which Pro spent his life.

BARRY Humphries, (of Dame Edna Everage fame) used to tell the tale of the
chardonnay couple who hid their Pro Hart in the hallway cupboard when he

Kevin Charles Hart, who said he had been dubbed "Pro" – short for "Professor" –
by his Broken Hill mining mates because "I am a bloody know-all", embodied the
common Australian's irreverence in a fingers-up at the art establishment.

The artist died in the NSW Outback city yesterday at the age of 77, after being
diagnosed with motor neurone disease late last year.

Owning a Pro Hart has been like owning a Namatjira – a popular choice that colours
thousands of suburban homes.

While the critics and museums did their best to ignore him, Hart's acrylics of the
Outback,populated by a likely looking bunch of characters, were a staple of the

His very Australian eccentricities – such as the hand-painted mural on his
Rolls-Royce – made him even more popular.

Adelaide art gallery director Kym Bonython discovered him and his work was shown
prominently here in the 1960s. "The most outstanding thing about him was that
success never altered him one iota," Mr Bonython said yesterday.

"The so-called experts of art have been rather downgrading of him.

The secret of his success was that he was painting not for the elite connoisseur,
but for the general public."

As it was announced that Hart would have a state funeral in Broken Hill on Tuesday,
local federal MP John Cobb took a Hart-like dig at art's elitists. "I have always been
stunned that the Australian National Gallery refused to hang any of Pro Hart's work,
despite his special place on the Australian art scene," he said.

The gallery did not comment on Hart's passing yesterday, and its silence has rankled
the art world.
Sydney painter and designer Ken Done described it as "scandalous".

In Victoria, Monash Gallery of Art director Jane Scott said the big galleries might
change their ways. "I suspect the big state institutions will actually acquire Pro's
work because I think he's going to stand the test of time," she said.

The Art Gallery of SA has two Hart works – one bought in the 1960s and the second
bequeathed as part of an estate in 1970. Art Gallery director Christopher Menz was
yesterday planning where to place them on the gallery walls.

Mr Menz said Pro Hart was amazingly prolific, but his works had not been commonly
available in art sales because "a lot of the people who bought his works still own them".

Art auctioneer James Bruce said there would be more on sale in the wake of Hart's death.

"Like all artists, there are good works and indifferent works," he said. "The

indifferent will start to sell for less and less and the best, which are his figurative
works, will sky-rocket because there are not going to be any more of them."

He auctioned six Harts this month and all sold above expectations. One expected to
fetch $500-$700 sold for $5500.


bornfool said...

I'm going to go right now and google him and try to check out some of his paintings.

Lyle said...

Thanks for that info Peter. Little did we know when viewing his paintings in the David Hart Gallery in Mooloolaba on Wednesday, that history was changing.

Hale McKay said...

I will follow bornfool to check out his works. Before your blog, I'd never heard of this person. As in the past, your posts are informative.

Maria said...

After reading your post and before coming to your comment section to write, I went to http://www.tommathiesongallery.com.au/content.asp?rid=47
It had some beautiful examples of Pro Hart's work. I was not familiar with his art, but I love the vivid colors, the motion, and the uninhibted use of line and form.
What a treasure!

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ You have educated me too.
I have seen Pro Hart throwing paint at his canvases and shooting paint out of
a gun at them etc and thought he was a bit mad.
BUT having now seen his landscapes via
your link I have a new appreciation of
his art. Thanks.

Marcus said...

His greatest masterpiece was the dragon fly made with cake and food stuffs out of the fridge all over the stain master carpet in those classic ads! "Oh, Mr Hart!"
I bet they'll get re-aired now that he's gone.

I've just realised by the way that you don't have word verification any more, what's the story, have you found some other way to beat the spammers?