David Strachan

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Curriculum vitae

David Edgar Strachan was born on 25 June 1919, at Salisbury in England. His mother was Eleanor Margery Isobel Strachan née Tapp of Bath, his father, Dr James Charles Power Strachan, had been a major in the Royal Australian Medical Corps. In 1920 he travelled to Australia, first to his father's home in Adelaide and then to the old gold mining town of Creswick in Victoria where Dr Strachan became the town doctor.
Dr Strachan's patients included the elderly widowed Jane Elizabeth Lindsay, her daughters and her son Robert. Norman, Lionel and Percy Lindsay were the town's most famous sons, and their many activities were the stuff of local legend. The youngest Lindsay boy, Daryl was a frequent visitor with his wife the novelist Joan Lindsay. Mrs Strachan in particular befriended Mary Lindsay, so young David was early embedded into a culture where art was a suitable career path.
After attending Geelong Grammar school, the 16 year old David travelled to England with his mother, where he enrolled in the Slade School of Fine Art for two years. Here he met and befriended Godfrey Miller. In 1937 he travelled to France where he attended summer classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and travelled south to paint at Cassis on the Riviera. On his return to Australia in 1938 he enrolled in classes at the George Bell School. In 1941 Strachan moved to Sydney, where there were other artists who shared his interest in classical form and mythologies. He lived at first on the top floor of the home of the artist Jean Bellette and her husband the influential art critic Paul Haefliger. Along with many other artists in their circle they travelled to the picturesque abandoned gold mining town of Hill End. The lively and supportive artistic community of what became known as the bq). Charm Schoolbq). was contrasted with his war work of painting camouflage against possible Japanese bomb attacks.
At the end of the War he left Australia for Paris, where he joined with former Sydney friends, Hélène Kirsova and Peter Bellew, who was working for UNESCO. Bellew had included Strachan in an exhibition at the Musée National d'Art Moderne two years earlier, and his work was well received. In 1950 Strachan began to experiment with printmaking, both making individual prints and publishing artists' books. Along with Alister Kershaw and Jacques Murray he founded Stramur-Presse which printed etchings and lithographs by other artists as well as their own work in exquisite artists' books. He maintained close friendships with others in the Australian expatriate community including the Haefligers at their Majorca home and undertook extensive painting trips with Moya Dyring
By the late 1950s Strachan was increasingly interested in Jungian psychology and spend most of 1957 and 1958 at the C. G. Jung-Institut in Zürich. He returned to Australia in 1960 and in 1963 bought a house in Paddington. The food he made at his Paddington home formed aspects of his carefully considered subject matter. He also became an inspirational teacher of printmaking to young students at East Sydney Technical College, and helped foster a new Australian generation of artists in print.
His starkly elegant landscapes and symbolist inspired still-lives were not fashionable with the avant-garde, but remained highly regarded by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales,who twice awarded him the Wynne Prize.
He did not forget his Creswick past, but when he painted landscapes of abandoned gold mines, his paintings were based on Hill End in NSW, not Creswick in Victoria. His last major painting, Lewers Freehold Mine, an historical re-imagining of what the mine may have looked like in 1874, was given by him to the Creswick Historical Society to honour his late father.
David Strachan was returning to Sydney from presenting this work when he died after a motor accident on the Hume Highway on 23 November 1970.

David Strachan

Curriculum vitae

David Edgar Strachan was born on 25 June 1919, at Salisbury in England. His mother was Eleanor Margery Isobel Strachan née Tapp of Bath, his father, Dr James Charles Power Strachan, had been a major in the Royal Australian Medical Corps. In 1920 he travelled to Australia, first to his father's home in Adelaide and then to the old gold mining town of Creswick in Victoria where Dr Strachan became the town doctor.
Dr Strachan's patients included the elderly widowed Jane Elizabeth Lindsay, her daughters and her son Robert. Norman, Lionel and Percy Lindsay were the town's most famous sons, and their many activities were the stuff of local legend. The youngest Lindsay boy, Daryl was a frequent visitor with his wife the novelist Joan Lindsay. Mrs Strachan in particular befriended Mary Lindsay, so young David was early embedded into a culture where art was a suitable career path.
After attending Geelong Grammar school, the 16 year old David travelled to England with his mother, where he enrolled in the Slade School of Fine Art for two years. Here he met and befriended Godfrey Miller. In 1937 he travelled to France where he attended summer classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and travelled south to paint at Cassis on the Riviera. On his return to Australia in 1938 he enrolled in classes at the George Bell School. In 1941 Strachan moved to Sydney, where there were other artists who shared his interest in classical form and mythologies. He lived at first on the top floor of the home of the artist Jean Bellette and her husband the influential art critic Paul Haefliger. Along with many other artists in their circle they travelled to the picturesque abandoned gold mining town of Hill End. The lively and supportive artistic community of what became known as the bq). Charm Schoolbq). was contrasted with his war work of painting camouflage against possible Japanese bomb attacks.
At the end of the War he left Australia for Paris, where he joined with former Sydney friends, Hélène Kirsova and Peter Bellew, who was working for UNESCO. Bellew had included Strachan in an exhibition at the Musée National d'Art Moderne two years earlier, and his work was well received. In 1950 Strachan began to experiment with printmaking, both making individual prints and publishing artists' books. Along with Alister Kershaw and Jacques Murray he founded Stramur-Presse which printed etchings and lithographs by other artists as well as their own work in exquisite artists' books. He maintained close friendships with others in the Australian expatriate community including the Haefligers at their Majorca home and undertook extensive painting trips with Moya Dyring
By the late 1950s Strachan was increasingly interested in Jungian psychology and spend most of 1957 and 1958 at the C. G. Jung-Institut in Zürich. He returned to Australia in 1960 and in 1963 bought a house in Paddington. The food he made at his Paddington home formed aspects of his carefully considered subject matter. He also became an inspirational teacher of printmaking to young students at East Sydney Technical College, and helped foster a new Australian generation of artists in print.
His starkly elegant landscapes and symbolist inspired still-lives were not fashionable with the avant-garde, but remained highly regarded by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales,who twice awarded him the Wynne Prize.
He did not forget his Creswick past, but when he painted landscapes of abandoned gold mines, his paintings were based on Hill End in NSW, not Creswick in Victoria. His last major painting, Lewers Freehold Mine, an historical re-imagining of what the mine may have looked like in 1874, was given by him to the Creswick Historical Society to honour his late father.
David Strachan was returning to Sydney from presenting this work when he died after a motor accident on the Hume Highway on 23 November 1970.