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Ernest Buckmaster (1897-1968)
Portrait of the Artist's Mother 1931
oil on canvas
96.7 x 76.2 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1939


Born 1897, Hawthorn, Victoria. Died 1968, Warrandyte, Victoria.

This three-quarter view of the artist's mother, Mrs H Buckmaster, shows her seated and impatiently clutching an umbrella. The muted shades of brown, black and cream are reminiscent of the Depression era in which it was painted, however, her fur-collared coat, hat with satin ribbon, and leather gloves suggest her high status. Her spectacles and penetrating gaze directly at the viewer suggest her displeasure. Perhaps she is waiting for a ride.

Ernest Buckmaster entered at least five different portraits of his mother in the Archibald Prize competition--in 1925, 1927, 1928, 1942 and this work in 1931. It was also pictured in issue number 42 of 'Art in Australia'. In 1932 Buckmaster's portrait of Sir William Irvine, the lieutenant-governor of Victoria, won the prestigious prize.

Ernest Buckmaster studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne. He disliked modernism and remained a traditional painter throughout his life. He exhibited regularly and his work became widely popular in Australia and New Zealand.