Charles Blackman was born on 12 August 1928 in Sydney, left school at 13 and worked as an illustrator with the Sydney Sun newspaper while attending night classes at East Sydney Technical College (1943–46). He was later awarded an honorary doctorate.
He became well known following his move toMelbourne in the mid-1940s, where he became friends with Joy Hester, John Perceval and Laurence Hope, as well as gaining the support of critic and art patron John Reed. His work met critical acclaim through his early Schoolgirl and Alice series, the latter being Blackman's conception of Lewis Carroll's most famous character. For some time while painting the Alice series, Blackman worked as a cook at a cafe run by art dealer, George Mora and his wife, fellow artist Mirka Mora.
In 1960 he lived in London after winning the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship, settling in Sydney upon his return six years later. In 1970 he moved to Paris, when awarded the atelier studio in the Cité des Artes. He lived there for a year at the same time as John Coburn, and subsequently returned often, as Paris was an eternal source of inspiration.
His strong friendships with fellow artists led to field trips, sessions with models, cultural interchanges with poets, writers, musicians and designing ballet sets.
He has won many prizes and distinctions, culminating in a major retrospective in 1993 and an OBE for services to Australian art in 1977.
A portrait of Charles Blackman by Jon Molvig won the Archibald Prize in 1966. (source: Wikipedia)