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Clifton Ernest PUGH A.O. (b.1924; d.1990)

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Clifton Pugh thrived on the political scene, playing a major role in the development of the Australian Labor Party's arts policy. His portrait of Labor leader Gough Whitlam won the Archibald in 1972, following success in 1971 with Country Party boss Sir John McEwan and in 1965 with newspaper executive R.A.G. Henderson. Pugh was also appointed to the Australia Council for the Arts, but resigned after a year.

Educated at Ivanhoe Grammar School, Pugh was not only noted for portraits of politicians, artists, writers and academics, but equally acclaimed for pictures of the bush, one of his best relating to Ivan Smith's radio feature, The Death of a Wombat.

With Brian Westwood, Pugh was the Australian War Memorial's official artist at the 75th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing at Anzac Cove in 1990.

Clifton Ernest Pugh was born on December 17, 1924, in Richmond, Victoria, and at 18 enlisted in the Army, becoming a draughtsman for Infantry Intelligence. On returning to Australia, he attended the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1947 to 1949.

In 1951 he bought a tract of bush near Cottles Bridge, about 50km outside Melbourne, and in 1990 set up the Dunmoochin Foundation to ensure future access to the bush studios by other artists.

The success of his first solo show, featuring landscape and portraiture at the Victorian Artists Society Gallery in 1957, encouraged him onto a career which saw him winning many prizes and being represented in the National Gallery of Australia, all state gallery collections, and numerous university, regional, public and private collections, here and abroad

Pugh married three times, to June Byford, Marlene Harvey and Judith Ley, and died in October, 1990, having set up the Dunmoochin Foundation to preserve the bushland and enable other artists to use the studios.


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