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Robert Dickerson - Against the tide

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By: Jennifer Dickerson 1994

Written by Jennifer Dickerson, "Against the Tide" details the industrious life of one of Australia's most collectable senior artists, Robert Dickerson.

Born in 1924, Dickerson joined the RAAF at 18 to then serve from 1945-1946 where he painted the children and landscape of the region whenever possible - a passion that still inspires him to paint today. "Against the Tide" recounts Dickerson's first Sydney and Melbourne exhibitions in the 1950s with the Contemporary Art Society, and explains Dickerson's role, and the motivation behind, the 1959 formation of the ‘Antipodeans' with art critic Bernard Smith and artists Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, John Brack and Charles Blackman.

While the book explores Dickerson's drive to become a professional artist, it also reveals a more personal side to the Australian painter. "Against the Tide" tells of Dickerson's childhood adventures in inner-city Sydney, his efforts to become a professional flyweight boxer, and his early appreciation of ‘having a punt'. The book also tells of his attempts at marriage and the battle to raise the resulting seven children while still pursuing his true love in life, painting.

Revised and reprinted in 2004 by Queen Street Fine Art Publishing. 167 pages, colour illustrations. Hardcover. $110