Robert Boyed Mitchell: 4 interesting facts

By Gwylym Owen

Robert Boyed Mitchell (19 December 1919 – 19 March 2002) is an Australian performer who dedicated his cartoon to his art practice without getting greeting during his lifetime. He experienced his first creative surge in the most difficult of circumstances: as a prisoner of conflict during World War II, drawing his surroundings, and despite adversity, inspired by the beauty of Japan. After the war, Robert Mitchell studied art at East Sydney Technical College, together subsequent to fellow art students John Coburn, Jon Molvig, Jean Weir, Stan De Teliga. Frank Hinder was in the midst of his teachers and became a lifelong friend.

Robert Mitchell was one of the first Australian artists to hug Abstract Expressionism, exemplified by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Robert Mitchell drew inspiration from a variety of sources: current art movements, architecture, Japan, but moreover advertising and fashion. In his hands, these influences combined into something very unique and individual, culminating in his Collage Paintings, evoking the joy, spirit and happiness of introduction and simulation itself.

Mitchell exhibited regularly in outfit shows in the 1940s and 1950s and was posthumously honoured in 2004 with a solo exhibition at the Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney, and at the Ken Done Gallery, Sydney.

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