Ray Crooke

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Ray Crooke
BornRay Austin Crooke
(1922-07-12)12 July 1922
Auburn, Victoria, Australia
Died5 December 2015(2015-12-05) (aged 93)
Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia
Alma materSwinburne University of Technology
June Bethel
(m. 1951; died 2013)
AwardsArchibald Prize
1969 George Johnston

Ray Austin Crooke AM (12 July 1922 – 5 December 2015) was an Australian artist known for his landscapes. He won the Archibald Prize in 1969 with a portrait of George Johnston.

Early life[edit]

Ray Crooke was born in Auburn, Victoria in 1922.[1] He spent time in Townsville, Cape York and other parts of northern Australia during World War II.


After the war, he enrolled in Art School at Swinburne University of Technology and later travelled to New Guinea, Tahiti and Fiji.

His portrait of the novelist George Johnston won the Archibald Prize in 1969, and the University of Queensland owns three of Ray Crooke's portrait paintings: Portrait of Xavier Herbert (1977), Portrait of Professor Emeritus Sir Zelman Cowen, (1919–2011), Vice-Chancellor 1970–1977 (1977) and Portrait of Sadie Herbert (1980).[2] However, he is not known usually for portrait painting. He is known for serene views of Islander people and ocean landscapes, many of which are based on the art of Paul Gauguin. He was responsible for the dust-jacket for Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert.[3]

His painting The Offering (1971) is in the Vatican Museum collection. Many of his works are in Australian galleries.

"North of Capricorn" was an Australian touring retrospective exhibition in 1997 organised by the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery (Townsville), initiated and curated by Grafico Topico's writer and curator Sue Smith.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 1993 Australia Day Honours, "in recognition of service to the arts, particularly as a landscape artist".[4]

Crooke died on 5 December 2015 at the age of 93.[5][6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ Dobson, Rosemary (1971). Focus on Ray Crooke. University of Queensland Press. p. 13. ISBN 0702207020.
  2. ^ Hergenhan, Laurie (July 2013). "A tale of three portrait" (pdf). Fryer Folios. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  3. ^ Crooke, Ray (1970), Preliminary design for the dustjacket of Xavier Herbert's Poor fellow my country, retrieved 3 December 2014
  4. ^ "CROOKE, Ray Austin". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Artist Ray Crooke, champion of the tropics, dies at 93". The Australian.
  6. ^ "Vale: Ray Crooke AO". Queensland Art Gallery. 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Ray Austin Crooke's Obituary on The Sydney Morning Herald". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  8. ^ de Silva, Greg (1 January 2016). "Artist captured the carefree people of Australia's tropical north". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Ray Crooke captured Australia's tropical north on canvas as no one else has done". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 January 2016. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
William Edwin Pidgeon
Archibald Prize
for George Johnston
Succeeded by
Eric Smith