By Lou Klepac
Artist, teacher, graphic designer, photographer, Hal Missingham was also Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales for twenty-six years from 1945 to 1971. It was an important period in Australian art when artists such as Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, Ian Fairweather, John Olsen and Brett Whiteley created some of the most memorable Australian paintings of the twentieth century. And yet the state art galleries were in disarray with minimal staff and steered by reactionary Trustees who would have none of the work of the young, upcoming generation of artists.
Missingham battled on, weathered the difficulties with a determined and idealistic belief that he would win in the end. Exhibitions he organised such as French Art Today 1953 and Italian Art of the 20th Century 1956, which toured the state galleries, opened up new possibilities for the younger generation of painters and influenced a new direction in Australian art.
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