Johnny W. Tjupurrula

Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula
Born: c1925
Died: Feb. 2001
Location: Western Desert, NT
Language: Luritja, Pintupi, Kukatja

Johnny was born in 1925 at Minjilpirri, an area north west of Illipili and south of Lake Mackay. The son of mixed parents, his mother being of Luritja/Warlpiri/Pintupi descent and his father Luritja/Warlpiri, Johnny was raised in a traditional manner, living a traditional life style in the desert and never attending European schools. Johnny is of the Luritja language group and was initiated into manhood during his family’s stay at a mission in Hermannsburg.

As Johnny’s paintings are strictly Aboriginal stories without conscious European influence, they remain of major significance. Despite their distinct Aboriginality they can still be measured on a scale of modern aesthetic.
In 1997 – 1999 Johnny paints this story with a new-found freedom, both in expression and in painting technique. Where he was once known for his delicate and soft white dotting, he now attacks the canvas to tell the story with great gusto. He jabs large dots on to the surface and produces roundels and symbols for weapons with great sweeps of his arm and the brush.

Artist: Johnny W. Tjupurrula
Size: 120cm x 98cm

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Johnny Warrangkula has become known as the ‘Big J.W.’ In 1997, a painting by J.W. titled ‘Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa’ sold at Sotheby’s for a record $210,000. In 2000 the same painting sold at Sotheby’s Auction house for $486,500, at the time a world record for an Aboriginal painting.
For a time between the late 1980’s until the mid 1990’s, Johnny produced few works due to poor eyesight resulting from Trachoma. However, after receiving treatment, Johnny’s enthusiasm for painting was rekindled, mainly driven by his desire to record his stories for future generations and to produce an income for his extended family.
In early 1997, Michael Hollow  made a great effort to revive Johnny’s painting career and commissioned him to do a series of small works. From this series Johnny began a new phase in his distinguished painting career and developed this new direction with other galleries and dealers over the next few years. This series, his final one, includes a range of small to very large dynamic, powerful paintings in pure red, blacks with white, yellow and ochre highlights. Each of the works features the established imagery of Johnny’s Dreamings overpainted to hide the secret and sacred elements. This painting is number 2 from this series.

More information on Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra.
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra.
Donald Kahn collection,
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.
South Australian Museum, Adelaide.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A.
1977,  Nigerian Festival Exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa.
1980,  Papunya Tula, Macquarie University Library, Sydney.
1980,  Australian Galleries Directors Council International Exhibition
of Aboriginal Art, touring to 1985.
1980,  Contemporary Australian Aborigine Paintings, Pacific Asia Museum,
Pasadena, California, USA
1981-82,    Aboriginal Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery
of Western Australia, Australian Museum, Queensland  Art Gallery
1984,  Koori Art 84, Art Space, Sydney.
1984,  Papunya and Beyond, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1985,  The Face of the Centre: Papunya Tula Paintings  1971-1984, National
Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1987,  Circle Path Meander, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1988,  Papunya Tula Paintings, Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery,
1988,  Foundation: The First Decade of Collecting, National  Gallery of Victoria
1988,  John Weber Gallery, New York City, USA.
1988,  Dreamings, the art of Aboriginal Australia, The Asia Society Galleries, NY.
1988,  The Inspired Dream, Life as art in Aboriginal Australia, Museum and Art
Gallery of the Northern Territory and touring  internationally.
1989,  A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, Westpac Gallery,
Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney  [through Lauraine Diggins Fine Art]
1989,  Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of
Australia, Canberra
1989,  Papunya Tula: Contemporary Paintings from Australias Western Desert,
John Weber Gallery, New York, USA. 1989, Mythscapes, Aboriginal Art of
the Desert, National  Gallery of Victoria   1990, lete Australien a
Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpellier, France.
1991,  Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court, Canberra
1991,  Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia
1991,  Canvas and Bark, South Australian Museum, Adelaide.
1991,  The Painted Dream: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings  from the Tim
and Vivien Johnson Collection, Auckland City Art  Gallery and Te Whare
Taonga o Aoteroa National Art Gallery, New Zealand.
1991,  Alice to Penzance, The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London
1991,  Australian Aboriginal Art from the Collection of Donald Kahn, Lowe Art
Museum, University of Miami, USA
1991/92,    Friendly Country, Friendly People, Touring Exhibition, through Araluen
Centre, Alice Springs
1992,  Crossroads-Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, National
Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo.
1993,  Ten years of acquisitions,from ANU collection, Drill Hall Gallery ACT
1993,  Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom.
1993,  Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, Northern Territory,
1993,  Art Museum Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.
1993,  Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Queensland,
1993,  Tjukurrpa, Desert Dreamings, Aboriginal Art from Central Australia
(1971-1993), Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth  WA.
1993/4,  ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring   Kunstammlung
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward  Gallery, London; Louisiana
Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
1994,  Dreamings – Tjukurrpa: Aboriginal Art of the Western  Desert; The Donald
Kahn collection, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich
1994,  Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria


© Indigenous Instyle (ABN:79796849701)
Copyright for the artworks remain with the artists

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