Biography

Jan Senbergs is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. He has been honored with several major institutional exhibitions, most recently with Jan Senbergs: Observation-Imagination, a comprehensive retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Victoria.

 

Born in Latvia in 1939, Jan Senbergs arrived in Australia in 1950. He completed an apprenticeship in silk-screen printing and began exhibiting in the early 1960s. In 1966 he held his first exhibition at Rudy Komon Gallery in Sydney and later that year was awarded the Helena Rubinstein Travelling Art Scholarship.

In 1973 he represented Australia at the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil, the first of many honours in an illustrious career including a special commission for a large-scale relief-mural for the High Court of Australia in Canberra in 1980, holding the position of member of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council from 1984-1987, Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria from 1984-1989 and in 1989 he was appointed the Visiting Professor – Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University, Boston, USA.

In 1993 a major survey exhibition, Imagined Sites – Imagined Realities was held at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, and he was awarded the William Dobell Drawing Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney the same year. In 2006, a major exhibition surveying his drawing practice was curated by Elizabeth Cross for the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery and toured regional Australia in 2007.

In 2008, the Art Gallery of New South Wales hosted the survey exhibition Jan Senbergs: From Screenprinter to Painter to document Jan’s development as an artist over the past 25 years.

Jan Senbergs’ work is represented at the National Gallery of Australia and in all state galleries in Australia. Internationally his work is included in the collections of the National Gallery, Washington D.C; Wadsworth-Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas among others. He is the subject of the major monograph entitled Voyage and Landfall by Patrick McCaughey.

Altered Parliament House 1

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018 Here & There: An Exhibition of Recent Works, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2016 Retrospective Exhibition, Jan Senbergs: Observation – imagination, The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Jan Senbergs & Chris Wallace-Crabbe: Those Imagined Cities, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
Drawings, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2015  HEAT – FIRE – SMOKE, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2013  Cruise Ships Don’t Come to Melbourne Much, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2012  Print Workshop, Melbourne
2011  Recent Works: Through the Imagination, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
 Geelong Re-imagined and Observed works from the West Coast, Deakin University Art Gallery, Victoria
2009  Capriccios, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2008  Jan Senbergs: From Screenprinter to Painter, Art Gallery of New South Wales
2007 Angahook – Otway, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2006 Jan Senbergs Drawing, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria and touring in 2007
2005 Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney
2004 Long Arm Drawing, Albury Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales
Jan Senbergs, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Wollongong City Gallery, New South Wales
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney
2002 Jan Senbergs, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Melbourne
Long Arm Drawing, Monash University Art and Design Faculty Gallery, Melbourne
2001 Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, New South Wales
Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney
Four Decades, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne
1999 Armidale ’42: Memory and Imagination, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria; The Ian Potter Museum of Art – The University of Melbourne, Victoria; New England Regional Gallery, New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 2000
1996 Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne
1995 Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney
1994 Jan Senbergs: Imagined Sites – Imagined Reality, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
1992 Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
1991 Australian Galleries, Sydney
1988 Voyage Six – Antarctica, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1986 Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1984 Mining Landscapes – Mt Lyell, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
Selected Works, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne and touring
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1983 Copperopolis – Mt. Lyell, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1981 Port Liardet Paintings, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
Port Liardet Paintings, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1979 Port Pastels, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1976 Albert Hall, Canberra
Jan Senbergs – Paintings, University Gallery, Melbourne
Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1975 Jan Senbergs 1965-75, Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre, Victoria
Crossley Gallery, Melbourne
1973 Sao Paolo Biennale, Sao Paolo, Brazil
The University of Western Australia, Perth
1972 Gallery A, Melbourne
1969 Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1966 Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
Georges Gallery, Melbourne
1964 Georges Gallery, Melbourne
1962 Argus Gallery, Melbourne
1960 Richman Galleries, Melbourne
Paradise Road

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017 Blue Chip XIX: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
My Geelong – our Gallery, Geelong Gallery, Victoria
2016 Panorama, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria
Blue Chip XVIII: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
A Fine Line: Drawings from the collection, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, Victoria
2015 APW George Collie Memorial Award Exhibition: Grahame King & Jan Senbergs, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
2014 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
Blue Chip XVI: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
The Piranesi effect, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, Victoria
Enlighten, See Canberra in a Whole New Light, National Library of Australia, Canberra
Contemporary Australian drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for drawing, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, Canberra
The art of sound, Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Burnie, Tasmania
2013 Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom
Blue Chip XV: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Mixtape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Sea of Dreams, Port Phillip Bay 1915-2013 (Part Two), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
2012 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
Antarctica, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra
Titled / Untitled – Works from The Gordon Collection, The Gordon Gallery, Geelong, Victoria
2011 Pride of the nation: Centenary of the Royal Australian Navy 1911-2011, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
Artist Artists, Benalla Art Gallery, Victoria
Ephemeral by Nature: Lasting by Design, Whitehorse Art Space, Melbourne
Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas, British Museum, London
Blue Chip XIII: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2010 Impressions, Australian Print Workshop Gallery, Melbourne
About Place, Australian Print Workshop Gallery, Melbourne
Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
Contemporary Australian Drawings 1, Drawing Out Festival of Drawing 2010, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
On this Island: Eleven prominent artists paint New Zealand, NG Art Gallery, Sydney
On this Island, Meeting and Parting, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, N.S.W., Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales, Bowen Galleries, Wellington, New Zealand and King St Gallery on William, Sydney
2009 Blue Chip XI: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2007 Fondamenti Nove, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
2006 Blue Chip VIII: The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Heart v Mind, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Victoria
Australian Drawing Part 1, John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne
2005 Contemporary Australian Drawing, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2003 William Buckley Rediscovered, Geelong Art Gallery, Victoria
Abstraction III, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne
2002 Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney
2001 Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901-2001, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and touring
Earth Fire Water: Elements of the Landscape, Metro 5, Melbourne
1999 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1998 Decalogue – Ten Years of Printmaking, Metropolitan Museum of Seoul, South Korea
1997 Swingtime – 1960s and 1970s, University of Western Australia, Perth
1996 Australian National University Art Collection: 50th Anniversary Touring Exhibition, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra and touring
Four Visions of Antarctica, Newcastle Art Gallery, New South Wales
Expressive Figuration, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1995 Modern Australian Painting, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne
1990 The City and Beyond, La Trobe University Gallery, Melbourne and touring
1989 The Australian Legal Group – Contemporary Print Collection Exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington DC
1987 Painters and Sculptors of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
1986 Modern Australian Painting, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne
Backlash: The Australian Drawing Revival 1976–1986, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Field of Figuration: Australian Art 1960-86, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1985 The Dam, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1984 Fremantle Drawing Prize, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia
1983 L.J. Harvey Memorial Prize for Drawing, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Recent Australian Painting 1970-83, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
1980 Contemporary Australian Printmakers 1, Print Council of Australia, touring United States of America, Canada & United Kingdom
1979 Images – Aspects of Image Painting in the 1960s, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne
1978 Contemporary Australian Drawing, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Tribute to George Baldessin, Realities Gallery, Melbourne
1972 Australian Prints, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
George Crouch Prize, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
1968 Bradford Print Biennale, City Art Gallery, Bradford, United Kingdom
Australian Art Today, Albert Hall, Canberra and touring
Ten Printmakers, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Contemporary Australian Prints, Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand
1966 6th International Graphics Exhibition, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia
International Biennale of Graphic Art, Cracow, Poland
International Print Biennale, Tokyo, Japan
Helena Rubinstein Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Inaugural Exhibition, Crossley Gallery, Melbourne
Australian Prints Today, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
The Mertz Collection of Contemporary Australian Painting, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
The Mertz Collection, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 1966
1965 Survey: Leonard Crawford, Leonard French, George Johnson, Roger Kemp, Jan Senbergs, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Young Australian Painters, Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan
1964 Georges Invitation Art Prize, Georges Gallery, Melbourne
1963 Georges Invitation Art Prize, Georges Gallery, Melbourne
1961 Helena Rubinstein Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Italian Government Travelling Scholarship Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Jan Senbergs

 

APPOINTMENTS

1967 Appointed Teacher, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne
1975 Appointed Creative Arts Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra
1984-87 Member of Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council
1984-89 Trustee, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1989-90 Visiting Professor, Chair of Australian Studies, Harvard University, Boston, United States of America
Jan Senbergs in Canberra Studio 1974

 

COLLECTIONS

Artbank, Sydney
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
The Atheneum Club, Melbourne
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Chase Manhattan Bank Collection, New York, United States of America
Geelong Gallery, Victoria
Federal Court, Melbourne
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
High Court of Australia, Canberra
Law Council of Victoria, Melbourne
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, United States of America
Museum of Modern Art, New York, United States of America
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, United States of America
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra
Perc Tucker Gallery, Queensland
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
State Library of Victoria, Melbourne
Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Melbourne
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
The Gordon Collection, Victoria
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America
Warrnambool Regional Art Gallery, Victoria

Various regional, university, college, corporate and private collections in Australia and United States of America, including BHP, Boston Consulting, ANZ, National Bank of Australia, and the Sussan Corporation amongst others.

Jan Senbergs, Col Madigan, George Baldessin and Les Kossatz at construction of High Court

 

AWARDS AND PRIZES

2015 George Collie Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to contemporary Australian printmaking
2003 Awarded the Order of Australia A.M.
1994 William Dobell Drawing Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1991 Kedumba Drawing Prize, Leura, New South Wales
1986 Honorary Award, Doctor of Arts Honoris Causa, RMIT, Melbourne
1984 Fremantle Drawing Prize, Western Australia
1983 L.J. Harvey Memorial Prize for Drawing, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
1982 Georges Invitation Art Prize, Melbourne
1976 Sir William Angliss Art Prize, Melbourne
1975-76 Creative Arts Fellowship, Australian National University, Canberra
1970 Launceston Art Purchase, Queen Victoria Art Museum and Art Gallery, Tas.
1969 Newcastle City Art Prize, New South Wales
Georges Invitation Art Prize, Melbourne
1968 University of Tasmania Print Prize, Hobart
1966 Helena Rubenstein Travelling Art Scholarship, Adelaide
1964 Commendation Prize, Georges Invitation Art Prize, Melbourne
1963 Morwell Art Prize, Victoria
High Court of Australia

 

COMMISSIONS

1991-93 The First Bush Block, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney; First Government House
1989 Birth of a University, Bond University, Queensland
1987 Bicentenary Series of Paintings, ANZ Bank (commissioned by Tasmanian, Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart)
1985-86 Commonwealth Serum Laboratories: the 70th Anniversary Commission, and touring exhibition, Commonwealth Serum Laboratories
1979 Tapestry for the National Bank of Australia (woven at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, South Melbourne)
1978-80 Relief mural in Lobby, High Court of Australia, Canberra
Jan Senbergs in Harvard studio 1990

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blue Chip XIX: The Collectors’ Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2017

John McDonald, ‘Changing the subject’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14-15 May 2016, pp. 16-17

Blue Chip XVIII: The Collectors’ Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2016

Elena Taylor, Tony Ellwood, David Hansen and Patrick McCaughey, Jan Senbergs: observation-imagination, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2016

Peter Hill, ‘Jan Senbergs: To Take the Long Way Home’, Vault, no. 14, May 2016

Robert Nelson, ‘Unsettling visions of our strangled world’, The Age, 27 April 2016, pp. 34-35

Quentin Sprague, ‘Life’s Work: Artist Jan Senbergs prepares for his NGV retrospective’, The Monthly, April 2016

Toby Fehily, ‘Jan Senbergs’, Art Guide, no. 100, March/April 2016, pp. 79-84

Gina Fairley, ‘Jan Senbergs: observation – imagination’, Visual Arts Hub, April 6, 2016

Sasha Grishin, ‘Jan Senbergs: Observation – Imagination at the National Gallery of Victoria’, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 25, 2016

Steph Harmon, ‘The ‘industrial surrealism’ and sprawling landscapes of Australia’s Jan Senbergs – in pictures’, The Guardian, March 21, 2016

Ashleigh Wilson, ‘Observation-Imagination: artist Jan Senbergs’ NGV retrospective’, The Australian, 17 March 2016

Andrew Stephens, “‘It is very hard to think these days’: Jan Senbergs stays true to his art”, The Age, March 4, 2016

‘”Observation-Imagination” at NGV’, Broadsheet, March 2016

Jan Senbergs: Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2016

Steve Lopes, ‘Jan Senbergs: Preview’, Artist Profile, no. 34, 2016, pp. 120-122

Elena Taylor, ‘In conversation: Jan Senbergs’, Gallery, January-February 2016, pp. 56-63

Sasha Grishin, ‘Jan Senbergs: Heat–Fire–Smoke’, Meanjin Quarterly, vol. 74, no. 2, 2015, pp. 32-48

Sasha Grishin, ‘Review: Jan Senbergs’ paintings are a brilliant shock to the senses’, The Conversation, February 2015

HEAT – FIRE – SMOKE, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2015

Barry Pearce, 100 Moments in Australian Painting, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2014

Blue Chip XVI: The Collectors’ Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2014

Sea of Dreams, Port Phillip Bay 1915-2013 (Part Two), exhibition catalogue, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Victoria, 2013

Max Delany, Fleur Watson et al., Melbourne Now, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Victoria, 2013

Melbourne Now Exhibition Guide, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Victoria, 2013

Steve Lopes, ‘Jan Senbergs: Imagined Realties’, Artist Profile, no. 25, 2013-14

Don Watson, ‘Outer Spaces’, The Australian Weekend Financial Review, 9-10 November 2013

Steve Lopez, ‘Jan Senbergs: Cruise Ships Don’t Come to Melbourne Much’, Art Almanac, November 2013

Don Watson, Cruise Ships Don’t Come to Melbourne Much, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2013

Simon Plant, ‘Our city’s creativity now for all to see’, The Herald Sun, 4 October 2013

Sonia Harford, ‘Children put on the map at the NGV’, The Age, 28 September 2013

Daniel Thomas, ‘Elizabethan Post-Colonial 1950-2013’, Australia, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2013

Blue Chip XV: The Collectors’ Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2013

Titled/Untitled – Work from The Gordon Collection, exhibition catalogue, The Gordon Gallery, Victoria, 2012

Maree Coote, ‘Jan Senbergs’, The Art of Being Melbourne, Melbournestyle Books, 2012

Gina Lee, ‘Imagine this’, Through the Imagination, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2011

Simon Grennan, ‘Landscape on the Brink’, Geelong Re-imagined and Observed works from the West Coast by Jan Senbergs, exhibition catalogue, Deakin University Art Gallery, Melbourne, 2011

Stephen Coppel, Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas, exhibition catalogue, British Museum Press, London, 2011

Blue Chip XIII: The Collectors’ Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2011

Katrina Strickland, ‘UK show redraws the relationship’, The Australian Financial Review, 23 June 2011

Owen Craven, On This Island, Meeting and Parting, exhibition catalogue, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, New South Wales, 2010

‘Profile: Jan Senbergs’, Artist Profile, no. 9, 2009

Paul Flynn, ‘On this island, meeting and parting’, Artist Profile, no. 9, 2009

Bettina MacAulay and Brett Adlington, Twelve Degrees of Latitude: Regional Gallery and University Art Collections in Queensland, exhibition catalogue, Museum and Gallery Services Queensland Limited, Brisbane, 2009

Patrick McCaughey, Capriccios, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2009

Hendrik Kolenberg, Jan Senbergs Complete Screenprints 1960–88, Art Gallery of New South

Wales, Sydney, 2008

John McDonald, ‘Two tones: dark and darker’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2527 April 2008

Sebastian Smee, ‘Age of anxiety’, The Weekend Australian, 1920 April 2008

Elisabeth Wynhausen, ‘Not just another maverick’, The Weekend Australian, 1920 April 2008

Hendrik Kolenberg, ‘Jan Senbergs: how his work grew and bloomed’, Look: Art Gallery Society of NSW, March 2008

Barbara Flynn (ed.), Emerge and Review: A look into the UBS Australian art collection, UBS, Sydney, 2007

Jim Morgan, ‘Jan Senbergs’ in Sonia Payes, Untitled: Portraits of Australian Artists, Macmillan Publishing, Melbourne, 2007

Ian Lloyd and John McDonald, Studio: Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity, R. Ian Lloyd Productions, Sydney, 2007

Angahook – Otway, exhibition catalogue, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2007

Patricia Maunder, ‘Artists in the frame’, The Age, 24 July 2007

Jeff Makin, ‘Lost master hits rocks’, Herald Sun, 14 May 2007

Patrick McCaughey, ‘Drawing on the far and near’, The Age, 6 January 2007

Elizabeth Cross, Jan Senbergs Drawing, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 2006

Daniel Thomas, ‘Between the cogs and a hard place’, The Times Literary Supplement, 11 August 2006

John Mateer, ‘Rethinking Senbergs’ view’, The Age, 3 June 2006

Rosalie Higson, ‘An artist’s life with his critics’, The Australian, 24 March 2006

Patrick McCaughey, Voyage and Landfall: the Art of Jan Senbergs, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2006

Gael Ramsay and Gordon Morrison, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery: Highlights from the Collection, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria, 2006

Imagined Sites – Imagined Reality, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, 1994

Jan Senbergs: Voyage Six – Antarctica, exhibition catalogue, Powell Street Gallery, 1988