John Perceval


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Australian painter and ceramic artist, born at Bruce Rock, Western Australia. He showed artistic talent from an early age (and an enforced stay in bed because of poliomyelitis when he was fifteen enabled him to develop his skills), but he had almost no formal training. In 1944 he married Mary Boyd (1926– ), the sister of Arthur Boyd and herself a painter and potter (in 1978, after divorcing Perceval, she married Sidney Nolan). Perceval's early works were in a vigorous and spontaneous Expressionist vein, sometimes exploring the fantasies and fears of childhood. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he worked mainly as a potter, but in 1956 he returned seriously to painting, principally as a landscapist. Robert Hughes writes: ‘His work, owing to its unreflective spontaneity, is uneven; but at its best its voracious appetite for stimuli and its good humour are matched by few of his contemporaries’ (The Art of Australia, 1970).

Subjects: Art.

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