Kelly Gellatly on Joy Hester

24 Sep 2020

For this ‘Into Your Collection,’ our outgoing Director, Kelly Gellatly explores an early work by the late Australian artist, Joy Hester.

Born in 1920, Hester became one of Australia’s most well known female artists and was a prominent member of the Heide Circle, marrying fellow artist Albert Tucker in 1941. She died in 1960, aged just 40.

Titled Man on bench the brush and ink work was produced at Heide in the mid-1940s, at a time when Hester’s art career was just beginning and before her world had veered into the tumultuous territory that she later became known for.  Here, the male figure in the work appears hunched, almost squashed into the corner of the work, capturing a sense of discomfort and anxiety – which Kelly says were common themes in Hester’s work during this period.

Watch to learn more about the work, and for insights into Joy Hester’s truly remarkable life.

Joy Hester
Man On Bench c. 1945
brush, pen and Chinese ink
The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Purchased 1980
© Joy Hester / Copyright Agency, 2019