Brian Seidel Various Works of Art
A highly talented and accomplished artist, Brian Seidel was born on the 28th August 1928 in Adelaide. He took inspiration very early in his life when his mother took Brian to an exhibition of Modern French and British Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. The paintings of Andre Derain, Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse particularly intrigued Seidel and left an interest that lasted the rest of his life. During the same year, 1940, Seidel started high school and was fortunate to have Geoffrey Smart as an art teacher, who was both inspirational and encouraged Seidel to follow his passion for painting. Similarly at art school, Brian came under the wing of Sir Ivor Hele, an Archibald Prize winner (five times) and taught him portrait and figurative painting. Through both tutors, Seidel was introduced to the works of other important Australian artists including Hans Heysen, Russel Drysdale and Arthur Streeton.
From High School, Brian Seidel went onto study teaching and art at the South Australia School of Art and the University of Adelaide. During this time, Seidel exhibited at the Royal SA Society of Arts and SA Contemporary Arts Society and was awarded the University Art prize in 1948. Between 1948 and 1963, Brian travelled and studied across the world. These included University of Iowa, USA and the Slade School of Art, London, 1963. Seidel became well known for his landscapes, interiors and figurative work. In an exhibition at the Chapman Gallery in 1989, the Canberra Times Art Critic, Sasha Grishin, commented that the exhibition was full of glowing gems. Up to 1992, Brian held about 25 solo exhibitions and saw his works included in almost all the major public art collections in Australia. Brian sadly passed away in 2019.
The Work of Art
Here, I would like to focus on some of Brian Seidel's line drawings as opposed to Autumn Pond and Tropical Pond which are covered elsewhere. The University of Canberra has two abstract paintings by Brian Seidel. The first, 'Winter' is an abstract landscape which shows blocks of colours that reflect the title, winter. The blues and greys are like fields frozen; and the dark background, the lower light levels in the shorter days. Much like Winter, 'In the Wake of the Blizzard' is a little abstract with blocks of colour and shapes. Some of the blocks seem to form a female figure laying on her side. The work was painted using acrylics onto canvas between 1965 and 1966. It also goes onto to show Seidel's interest in the human figure.
As noted above, Brian Seidel studied and learned portrait and figurative painting from Sir Ivor Hele and a number of works of art in the University's Art Collection focus on the human form. ;Study for Midday Brunch' and 'Studio Movements' focus on the female form although light and colour ensure the form is tasteful. In 'Studio Movement', the figure can be seen moving out of a picture from from a commercial gallery or studio. It is one of the collection's most colourful works .Although Seidel used synthetic polymer paints onto linen, the effect is looking at a large scale pastel picture. Study for Midday Brunch, is a charcoal and pastel picture onto handmade paper. Seidel demonstrates his talents and figurative drawing skills to great effect here as the light streaming through the window places much of the figure into shadow. Repose, is a drawing of a clothed female figure laying on a bed looking toward the viewer. It is a detailed and delightful line drawing . Wonderwall theme combines techniques seen in Study for Midday Brunch and the line work in repose. All these works were donated to the University of Canberra from the artist's estate and are a major contribution to the Art Collection.