George Whinnen: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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George Whinnen (30 November 1891 – 7 November 1950) was a South Australian painter.

He was born in Gawler, South Australia, a son of John and Emily Whinnen, née McIntosh (died 1923). After attending the local primary theoretical he secured a job in the same way as A. C. Follett & Co., drapers of Murray Street, Gawler. He showed an incorporation in painting, so his uncle F. B. Whinnen, a Murray Street grocer, made him a present of a set of paints.

His family moved to Willaston, then to Broken Hill, where he worked for Don Tailors and took night classes in painting at the mysterious school. He took extra classes at the East Sydney Technical School. He was a champion rifle marksman, winner of the Galway Cup. When he left Broken Hill for Adelaide a propos the terminate of 1924 a trophy for rifle marksmanship was named for him. A few years superior he was skillful to make art his full-time occupation. He studied below Fred Britton and attended computer graphics classes at the Adelaide School of Art.

He won the Melrose Prize for portraiture in 1929 and 1932, also won prizes for landscapes and seascapes, much of which was painted on Victor Harbor.

He created a furore in 1940 as soon as he removed a nevertheless life from an exhibition accustom the R.S.A.S.A. in a protest against the judges. He was president of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts 1940–1950. Also in 1940 he was appointed by the Education Department as instructor of drawing and painting from Life and Still Life.

The Museum commissioned him to paint a diorama for a major display of Central Australian wildlife.

His Still Life and Autumn Flowers were next held by the Art Gallery of South Australia.

George Whinnen married Gladys Hill Pearce (1891 – 8 December 1953) on 19 August 1919; they had three daughters:

They had a house at 5 Rowell Avenue, Glenunga

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