Leonard French: Moon Turtle
Leonard French, Moon Turtle
According to the National Portrait Gallery's webpage, Leonard French OBE (1928-2017) left school at fourteen to become an apprentice signwriter in his native Melbourne. He later studied part-time at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. After the war, he visited Europe, studying the Byzantine art whose influence would later become evident in his work. On his return to Australia, he taught at various Melbourne technical schools until the late 1950s. In 1956 he completed the seven-panel Legend of Sinbad the Sailor which hung in the ultra-modern Legend café in Melbourne. Henceforth, he became one of the country's most successful and sought-after artists (although he worked as the National Gallery of Victoria's Exhibitions Officer between 1956 and 1960). His enormous dalle de verre (concrete and slab glass) ceiling in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria was commissioned in 1963, and completed in 1968; other monumental glass projects of the sixties and seventies were the windows for the new National Library in Canberra, the Alpha and Omega window in Monash University's Blackwood Hall and the mural Regeneration in the Great Hall of University House, ANU.
The Work of Art
This print was published in 1978 by Druckmana Press and this is a limited edition of 200 (of which this is the 197th). The work itself is a beautiful depiction in blues, greens and whites of the moon turtle using geometric shapes.
The Moon Turtle is often associated with the Peak Sea Turtle that often nests around the time of the full moon. The image of the moon turtle is a popular image that associates calm moods as well as lunar activities. The image of a stellar turtle has also reached far into popular literature with the books of Terry Pratchett and the Great A'tuen.