Personage and umbrella 1970
etching, aquatint and colour stencil; edition of 28
FE Richardson print prize, 1970
George Baldessin is one of Australia’s most celebrated printmakers. He was introduced to the medium whilst studying at the Royal Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT) from 1958–61, when Melbourne’s printmaking revival permeated the city’s art schools and ateliers.
Throughout the 1960s and ’70s Baldessin used windows as a meaningful compositional device, creating etchings and aquatints that addressed contemporary paradigms of existentialism, urbanism and isolation. As a formal means of framing both inside and outside worlds, the window suggests a multiplicity of views as much as it constrains and entraps its subject. The use of the term ‘personage’ to describe the figure in this work implies a sense of performativity or theatricality, with the umbrella serving as a defensive prop to the protagonist’s reluctant positioning within the scene.