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Robert Colligan, Salt Pan Cove, Pittwater

Robert Colligan, Salt Pan Cove, Pittwater

Robert Colligan

The Artist

Landscape artist and interior designer, Robert Colligan was born in Lancashire, England  on September 29th, 1925. Following his move to Australia in 1931, his family settled in Bexley, Sydney. Colligan excelled as a child in sports and music. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, at the age 17, he won the State Police Boys lightweight boxing title and played for the Newtown Rugby League Football Club.  Colligan was also known for his baritone voice in the Hurlstone Choir. Following an industrial accident at the age of 21, Colligan turned to fine arts and his interest in drawing. After studying at the East Sydney Technical College with Phyllis Shillito he became an interior designer  and colour consultant, setting up Glasebrooks Paints in Sydney. From the 1960s onwards, Colligan also turned to television and worked as an art director for Artransa Park Television. He co-ordinated the joint Biritsh-Australian exhibition, 'All the World's a Stage' at the opening of the Sydney Opera House and later held his first painting exhibition there along with Ida Bruckhauser.  From 1951, Colligan had been accepted as an exhibiting member of the Royal Art Society of NSW and was elected as a fellow in 1976. In 1982, Robert Colligan became president of the Royal Art Society and served in that capacity for two years.  He married in 1987 actress, Patricia Hill and settled in the Port Stephens area of New South Wales where he continued to paint and teach. Robert died in 2015.

Salt Pan Cove

The Work of Art

Robert was known as a plein air landscape and seascape artist and believed tat a painting was a moment held in time and conveyed the mood of the place. with the addition of poetic element. In his words, art is the jewel of society and that some work elevates and exalts our perceptions. Colligan was known to have promoted the traditional art values of discipline and continuity while also exhibtiting what was good in all styles. Colligan passionately loved the Australian bush and strove to represent its grandeur. He often pointed out its rich colours and forms. His works therefore would not be out of place alongside some of the greats of McCubbin,

The painting, Salt Pan Cove, represents that fine line where the Australian Bush meets the shore. Tall gum-trees in the foreground dominate the landscape whilst the sky and shoreare depicted in a beautiful light blue. As a matter of fact, the scenery has changed very little in the intervening years from when the work was painted in 1976 and now. It is as the artist intended, a moment captured in time.