Fred Cress: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Frederick Harold Cress AM (10 July 1938 – 14 October 2009) was a British painter who migrated to Australia and won the Archibald Prize in 1988 in imitation of a portrait of John Beard.

Cress was born in Poona, British Raj, but went to England similar to his parents in 1948, when he was ten. He was educated at the Birmingham College of Art in England, and migrated to Australia in 1962 as a “ten pound Pom”, meaning that he and no-one else had to pay ten pound for his fare to Australia. Cress met the painter Anne Judell and married her in 1967; they divorced in 1991. He started his career painting figuratively, but became without difficulty known for his abstract comport yourself in the late 60s and 70s. He returned to figurative painting in the late 80s after he won the Archibald Prize next a portrait of his buddy and colleague, John Beard. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for facilities to visual arts.

In 1990 Cress bought a 17th-century stone farmhouse in Southern Burgundy, France. He spent the next-door 20 years of his life lively half the year in France and half the year in Sydney taking into consideration his partner, the photographer, Victoria Fernandez. Many of Cress’s cutting edge works have visual references to his grow old spent in France.

Cress was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2003. In 2009 he declined to continue past treatment though he worked on his last exhibition, entitled ‘End Game One’, held in Australian Galleries, Paddington. He died on 14 October 2009.

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