Robert Clinch


Robert Clinch | Fanfare for the common man
Art Gallery of Ballarat
until 8 September

more information


Robert Clinch

Loch Ness
egg tempera on panel 42×96cm

Robert Clinch has been awarded a State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowship for 2012-13. The funded three-month Fellowship will enable him to research and commence work upon a proposed egg-tempera painting, titled ‘The Rejected Manuscript’.
The title, ‘The Rejected Manuscript’, refers to the bane of literary endeavour, and a theme common to all creative pursuits; rejection. Although Robert’s paintings appear to be carefully observed renderings of real places, they are capriccios. These images originate in his imagination. Their convincing naturalism is achieved by borrowing details from plein-air drawings he does in real locations. He then adapts these to form the visual elements within his envisaged compositions. (He does not work from photographs.)
The various buildings of The State Library of Victoria lend themselves perfectly to ‘The Rejected Manuscript’. Robert will start by drawing studies of selected architectural features, in particular, The Latrobe Reading Room. An amalgam of details drawn from these studies will form the background composition. A bold narrative prop, that makes a tragi-comical reference to the title, will then be introduced; creating a dramatic aesthetic gesture.
A large painting of the scale he proposes requires around six months to complete. Apart from his painstaking compositional methods and exacting standards of finish, egg-tempera does not come in tubes. The pigments must be ground by hand, the medium prepared freshly, and all tools kept scrupulously clean.

Since 2003, The State Library of Victoria, with the support of its foundation, has awarded Creative Fellowships to scholars, writers, composers and artists to work on projects drawing on the Library’s collections. The Fellowships reflect the Library’s commitment to original scholarship and creative endeavour, and promote awareness of the Library’s rich resources and collections. Eight three-month Fellowships have been awarded for 2012-13.

Australian artist Robert Clinch contemporary realist painter of remarkable urban capriccios, is represented by Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney and Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York.

Clinch’s striking imagery transports the viewer to a fictional but hauntingly real world; telling accessible tales of loneliness, joy, injustice, humour, melancholy and whimsy.

In keeping with his neo-renaissance use of Egg Tempera, Clinch works entirely from drawings, often executed at numerous locations and then adapted for composition in the studio.

Clinch has completed many major commissions, including works for; The National Gallery of Victoria, The Ian Potter Museum (Melbourne University), Frank Lowy (Westfield Holdings) and Lindsay Fox (Linfox Transport).


Robert Clinch


Born in Cooma, New South Wales, Australia. Lives & works in Melbourne Australia

Solo Exhibitions

Lithographs, Drawings & Egg Tempera; Robin Gibson Gallery
Solitary Perspectives; Shepparton Art Gallery
Black & White; Hill-Smith Gallery, Adelaide
Urban Myths and Legends; Dickerson Gallery, Melbourne
Urban Myths; Touring;Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Benalla Art Gallery, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Geelong Gallery
Robert Clinch, Lithographs; Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
McClelland Galleries, Langwarrin
Works On Paper; Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney

Group Exhibitions

In The Black; Lauraine Diggins Fine Art
Preserving The Past; Enriching The Future; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
Preserving The Past; Enriching The Future; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Annual Collectors’ Exhibition; Lauraine Diggins Fine Art; Melbourne
Fletcher Jones Art Prize, Geelong Gallery
People, Places; Townhall Gallery, Boroondara; 2008.
Director’s Choice Exhibition; Hill Smith Gallery; Adelaide
Works From The Studio; Lancaster Press Gallery, Melbourne
Banyule Works on Paper Art Award; Banyule Art Space, Melbourne
The Art Of The Dog; Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Castlemaine Inaugural Burnie Print Prize; Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Burnie
Passion Printing; Lancaster Press Gallery, Melbourne
Civic Connections; The Town Hall Gallery; Boroondara
Australian Print Making; 1960’s to Present; Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Castlemaine
Melbourne and Country; Adam Galleries, Melbourne
Geelong Aquisitive Print Awards; Geelong Gallery, Geelong
Expansion; Lancaster Press Gallery, Melbourne
Ballarat and Beyond; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat
Between a Rock and a Hard Place; Lancaster Press Gallery, Melbourne
City Life; Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, New York
Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, Nantucket
Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, New York
Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, Nantucket
Hoorn-Ashby Gallery, New York.
Hammer Galleries, New York.
2000, 98, 97, 95, 94, 93, 91-92, 89, 87, 86, 85
Wynne Prize; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Archibald Prize; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1992 -93
Uncommon Australians; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, then touring all State and National Galleries
Portraits of Joseph Brown; Latrobe University Gallery, Melbourne
1991, 87
Alice Bale Art Award; McClelland Gallery, Langwarrin
Sir William Dobell Art Award; Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney
Ansett Invitation Art Award; City of Hamilton Art Galley, Hamilton
Fine Painting; Australian Galleries, Melbourne


Royal Overseas League Art Award, Open Prize
Wynne Trustees Water Colour Prize, Art Gallery of N.S.W.
Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship
Wynne Trustees Water Colour Prize, Art Gallery of N.S.W.
Bega Art Awards, Peoples Choice


  • David Hurlston, Preserving The Past, Enriching The Future Hugh Williamson’s Legacy, NGV, 2008.
  • David Thomas, d’ART, The Art Of Robert, The Lytlewode Press, Stoke-On-Trent, 2007.
  • David Thomas, Urban Myths, Catelogue essay – Touring Exhibition, 2007.
  • Gordon Morrison, Ballarat In Pictures, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 2006.
  • McCulloch, McCullochs Encyclopedia Of Australian Art, Aus Art Editions, 2006.
  • Peter Steele, The Whispering Gallery, Art Into Poetry, Macmillan, 2006.
  • Gerard Vaughan,and others, The Joseph Brown Collection, N.G.V., (essay; Kirsty Grant), 2004.
  • The Australian Art Market Report, (Issue 13),Top 10 New High Prices At Auction, Spring, 2004.
  • Hugh Williamson Foundation, Annual Report, 2002.
  • Nevill Drury, Images 3; Contemporary Australian Painting, Craftsman House, 1998.
  • Tom Prior, They Trusted Men, Wilkinson, (cover), 1996.
  • Hugh Williamson Foundation, Annual Report, 1996.
  • Katrina Fox, The Linfox Letter, Issue 26, (cover and feature article), 1996.
  • National Mutual Calendar, C+Bus Collection, 1996.
  • National Gallery of Victoria Foundation, Annual Report, (cover), 1996.
  • McCulloch, Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, 1994.
  • Julian Fagan, Uncommon Australians; Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery, Art Exhibitions Australia Ltd., 1992.
  • Tom Prior, Bolte by Bolte, Craftsman Press, (cover), 1990.
  • Tom Prior, A Knockabout Priest, Hargreen, (cover), 1985. Gerard Vaughan, Frances


  • Portrait: Fr. John Brosnan O.B.E. 1985.
  • Portrait: Sir Henry Bolte G.C.M.G. 1989.
  • Portrait: Dr. Joseph Brown A.O., O.B.E. 1991
  • Linfox Transport: 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993-94.
  • National Gallery of Victoria: 1995-96
  • Potter Museum (Melbourne University): 1998
  • Frank Lowy (Westfield Collection): 1999


Museum Collections
Chaiyong Limthongkul Foundation Fine Arts Museum, Bankok
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, Joseph Brown Collecion, NGV
National Library of Australia, Canberra
State Library of Victoria, Melbourne
Hamilton Art Gallery, Hamilton
Geelong Gallery, Geelong
Castlemaine Art Gallery & Historical Museum, Castlemaine
Latrobe University, Melbourne
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat
Deakin University, Melbourne
The Town Hall Gallery, City of Boroondara
National Gallery of Austtralia, Canberra
Other Major Collections
Linfox Transport
Bank of Melbourne
C+ Bus
Gordon and Marilyn Darling Collection
C.G.U. Insurance
Bankers Trust
Westfield Collection (Frank Lowy)
Sussan Collection (Marc Besen)
Co-Invest Ltd
Kym Bonython Collection
Private Collections
In Australia
Great Britain

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