Tucker, Albert (1914–1999) By Fry, Gavin
Albert Tucker was a modern Australian painter, known best for his series of works depicting the horrors of wartime and harsh images of the Australian landscape. Tucker was an artist of seemingly irreconcilable contrasts. He was a social conservative who in his youth flirted with the Communist Party. He was a master draughtsman and charming illustrator, yet produced challenging works that are, to many viewers, dense and unfathomable. A child of the Depression, he knew hardship, yet clung firmly to his middle-class values and maintained fierce determination to succeed financially. With an often forbidding public persona, he was also known as a man of great charm and personal warmth. Largely self-educated, he worked first as a commercial artist, illustrator, and cartoonist before falling in with young modernist contemporaries Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd and the Heide Circle surrounding John and Sunday Reed. An artist of uncompromising determination, he was to gain the reputation and financial reward he always saw as his due. As the mythos surrounding the world of Heide and the Angry Penguins continues to grow, so does Tucker’s place in Australian art, now firmly recognised in a permanent gallery in his name at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne.