Brushmen of the Bush
Brushmen of the Bush was a painting group of five artists who collaborated in Broken Hill, New South Wales in 1973. It was active until 1989. The five members of the group were Pro Hart, Eric Minchin, Jack Absalom, John Pickup and Hugh Schulz.
Following their inaugural exhibition in 1973, the name Brushmen of the Bush was coined by Lorraine Hickman for a two-page article in The Australian Women's Weekly. More than 50 subsequent exhibitions raised over one million six hundred and forty thousand Australian dollars for various charities, notably the Royal Flying Doctor Service. During the 1970s, Brushmen of the Bush exhibited in London (twice), Rome, New York City and Los Angeles.
THE Broken Hill City Council declared 2006 "The Year of the Brushmen of the Bush" to honour the Group's contribution to the city through art. The Broken Hill Regional Gallery also mounted a "Brushmen of the Bush" Retrospective Exhibition, curated by Bettina MacAulay, (who also authored the very detailed history of the Group). The Brushmen of the Bush Retrospective Exhibition toured eleven regional galleries in NSW., Victoria, South Australia and Queensland from 2006 to 2009.
Forty four Brushmen exhibitions were staged for charity and further exhibitions organised by dealer and civic galleries have taken the total number of Brushmen of the Bush exhibitions to well over fifty.
The Group exhibitions were always staged in aid of charitable organisations (particularly for children) and donations of paintings by the Brushmen for auction and raffles swelled the commissions on sales to over $1,640,000 when CPI calculations adjust the 1973 to 1989 dollar figures to today's values.
Eric Minchin died on 15 June 1994, Hugh Schulz on 23 September 2005 and Pro Hart was afforded a State Funeral following his death on 28th. March 2006. The surviving Brushmen, Pat Coffee, Jack Absalom and John Pickup, live in Broken Hill, NSW, and Mackay, Queensland respectively
Broken Hill's current thriving arts scene traces its roots back to the Brushmen of the Bush.
- Walker, Anna (2006-06-06). "Brushmen's impact grows as ranks thin". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-03-28.[dead link]
- Broken Hill Brushmen Exhibition, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2006
- "Pro Hart: hang the lot of them", The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 2006
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