1948 Richard William Amor is born on 3 March 1948 at Frankston Community Hospital, the second child of Robert Amor and Irma ‘Gobbie’ Amor, née Morris (Rick Amor’s sister, Elizabeth, was born in 1939). The Amor family home was at the corner of the Nepean Highway and Sheridan Avenue, Frankston.
1950 Amor family moves to 120 Gould Street, Frankston.
1954–59 Rick Amor attends Frankston Primary School.
1955 Amor is hospitalized; he spends three weeks in a coma with acute encephalitis, diagnosed by Dr Philip Stretton, the uncle of Amor’s future partner Meg Williams.
1958 The Amor family moves to 128 Gould Street, which backs directly onto Frankston Beach. Elizabeth enters art school.
1959 Stanley Kramer’s film On the Beach, after Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel, is filmed, in part, at Frankston Beach and at Mount Eliza. Amor and his father are among the extras. Amor’s artistic interests are encouraged by his parents and by his maternal aunt, Myra Morris.
1960–63 Amor attends Frankston Junior Technical School, where he is encouraged by John Anson, an ex-RAF pilot and an artist.
1960 Attends art classes at the Peninsula Arts Society, Frankston. Amor’s teachers include John Yule, Bill Hunter and Wesley Penberthy. Aged twelve, Amor exhibits in the Society’s Spring Exhibition. He becomes aware, from his sister’s art books, of the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Salvador Dalí.
1961 Amor’s mother, Irma, dies suddenly of golden staph infection after a short hospitalization with pneumonia. After her death, Amor lives with his aunt Jean Amor. He continues painting at home.
1962 Wins prize for poster at Peninsula Festival.
Aged fourteen, paints his first self portrait, which is included in a Peninsula Arts Society exhibition. The painting is purchased by Dr Stretton for ten guineas.
1964 Enrols at Caulfield Technical College, for Certificate of Art (had undertaken foundation year at Frankston Junior Technical School). Reads Kerouac. Begins drinking alcohol.
1965 Transfers to main Caulfield campus of Caulfield Technical College. Staff at the time include Warwick Armstrong, Fred Cress, Kenneth Jack, Ken Scarlett and Colvin Smith. Through fellow student Gary Gane, Amor discovers the work of Alberto Giacometti.
1966 Studies the paintings of Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Michael Andrews and Nicolas de Stäel, fine examples of which were in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
1966–68 Attends National Gallery of Victoria Art School. Staff include John Brack (head of Painting), Murray Walker (Printmaking), Marc Clark (Sculpture) and Ian Armstrong (Portrait Painting). Comes under the artistic influence of John Brack and is also influenced by the writings of John Berger.
1967 Sees the exhibition Two Decades of American Painting at the NGV; writes to Melbourne’s Age newspaper to protest against Patrick McCaughey’s favourable review.
1968 Makes his first prints: three etchings (cat. nos E.001–E.003), a linocut and three woodcuts. Due to the cost of materials and printing processes involved in the making of intaglio prints, Amor does not return to etching until 1988.
Graduates from National Gallery of Victoria Art School with Associate Diploma of Art. Is awarded Travelling Scholarship as top painting student in his year.
1969 Uses Travelling Scholarship to support his painting in his home studio at Frankston. Works on Mount Eliza poultry farm.
1970 Meets Tina Schifferle through the folk music scene and moves from Frankston to a series of shared houses in Auburn and Hawthorn.
8 May: Attends Vietnam Moratorium in Melbourne.
27 November: Marries Tina Schifferle.
Commences work in the Survey section of the Public Works Department.
1971 15 May: Birth of son Lliam.
Moves to Burke Road, Balwyn.
Travelling Scholarship painting, Blue neon red light, 1970–71, presented to NGV in compliance with scholarship provision.
1972 Is introduced by John Brack to Joseph Brown and commences working arrangement with Brown. Amor is given a retainer of $250 per month to deliver one portrait and four subject paintings to the Joseph Brown Gallery each month. He resigns from the Public Works Department.
11–27 September: Two portraits (Charles Nodrum and Self-portrait) exhibited in Joseph Brown Gallery exhibition Contemporary Australian Portraits.
Over the summer of 1972–73 Amor house-sits for Clifton Pugh at Dunmoochin, an artists’ community at Cottles Bridge.
1973 January: Moves with family to the caretaker’s cottage at Mulberry Hill, Baxter, home of Sir Daryl Lindsay (artist and former Director of the NGV) and Lady Joan Lindsay (writer). Amor works at Mulberry Hill as live-in help; he has the use of the cottage, as accommodation, and a studio.
1974 25 February – 8 March: First solo exhibition at Joseph Brown Gallery.
23 March: Birth of daughter Zoe.
Paints Daryl Lindsay’s portrait.
1975 March: Arrangement with Joseph Brown terminated.
Begins commission to illustrate five English-language educational comics for the Macmillan Publishing Company.
October: Awarded Australia Council artist’s grant of $7500.
Dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, on 11 November, prompts Amor to join the Frankston branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and accelerates his involvement with the Trade Union movement. He gets to know Norm Gallagher of the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF), and forms connections with Ralph Edwards, of the Frankston branch of the ALP, and George Seelaf, Arts Officer at Trades Hall, Melbourne. From this time until 1982, Amor is deeply involved in creating art of a political nature, including posters, cartoons, illustrations, and some relief prints.
1976 Inaugural art exhibition of drawings, at the Green Bans Gallery, of BLF members.
Draws cartoons for the Labor Star and the CPA Tribune.
Resumes making prints, but relief prints rather than intaglios.
1977 Portrait of Joan Lindsay, 1976, selected as finalist for Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales. The painting is later purchased for the collection of the new Australian National Gallery (now National Gallery of Australia), Canberra.
1978 Meets Stephen Murray-Smith, writer and founding editor of the literary journal Overland. Amor would later join the board of Overland, serving until 1998.
1979 Paints mural for the offices of the Miscellaneous Workers’ Union, Errol Street, North Melbourne.
1981 Begins to teach life drawing classes at RMIT and art classes at Pentridge Gaol.
1982 Meets artist Andrew Southall, with whom he subsequently undertakes regular painting trips in and around Melbourne.
Marriage breakdown, and separation from Tina Amor. She moves out with the children towards the end of the year.
1983 Produces six woodcuts for the artist’s book Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven; it is not published until 1990.
28 July – 2 August: Exhibits with Niagara Galleries, Richmond (Melbourne), for the first time. Exhibits annually with Niagara Galleries thereafter.
Stops cartooning and decides to commit fully to art. Begins to detach himself from overt political involvement, a distancing that is reflected in his art.
Makes his first self portrait print, the linocut Self portrait
1984 June: Death of Amor’s father, Bob Amor
Makes set of fifteen linocut illustrations, in the style of relief prints of the 1940s, for a new edition of Alan Marshall’s book These Are My People (1944), to be published by the Melbourne publishing house Currey O’Neil.
Is divorced from Tina Schifferle, but Amor and Schifferle remain friends.
August: Meets Megan (Meg) Williams, a painter and graphic designer, who becomes his life partner.
1985 February to end of April: First trip to the UK. Amor travels to London to be at the opening of Four Australian Artists at Crane Kalman Gallery. The exhibition features work by Amor, Clifton Pugh, David Rankin and Andrew Southall.
June: Moves from Mulberry Hill to Clifton Pugh’s property, Dunmoochin. The dwelling Amor moves into is a small, run-down cottage, which he renovates extensively, in due course adding a studio. (Today known as ‘Rick’s House’, the house is available for hire, under the terms of a Dunmoochin Foundation artist’s residency.)
1986 Goes on painting trips to Port Melbourne and Williamstown with Clifton Pugh and Andrew Southall.
1987–88 Produces six woodcuts based on his time in London. These would later be joined by two more woodcuts, to make up a set called the London suite, 1990. The subjects include four landscapes (Hampstead Heath, Forest in Somerset, Holland Park, and Kensington), three portraits (The critic / Giles Auty, The artist / Feliks Topolski and Peter Levi, Oxford Professor of Poetry) and Homeless woman, London Underground.
1987 Portrait of Malcolm Turnbull, 1987, selected as finalist for Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
1988 Gives up alcohol.
Returns to etching after a twenty-year break. Port Jackson Press commissions Amor to contribute a print to a portfolio in honour of his recently deceased friend Stephen Murray-Smith. Amor etches Runner (cat. no. E.004).
Begins systematic notebook list of etchings, starting with Runner. This listing is cited in the online catalogue under the heading ‘Artist’s Record Number’.
1989 Awarded the National Australia Bank Art Prize.
Travels with Meg Williams to London, Paris and Giverny. Amor and Williams also visit Somerset, ancestral home of Amor’s mother.
Buys an etching press.
Makes his first intaglio self portrait (cat. no. E.009).
1990 Meg Williams moves in with Amor at Dunmoochin.
Publication of Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven (Croft Press, Cobargo, NSW), which includes six woodcuts by Amor, made in 1983.
Exhibition: Rick Amor Paintings and Drawings 1984–1990, Warrnambool Art Gallery, Warrnambool, Victoria (the exhibition also toured regional galleries in Victoria and South Australia throughout 1990–91). This, the first major survey of Amor’s art, was organized by David Hansen. It included relief prints but not intaglios.
Makes his first mezzotint – North Devon (cat. no. E.024) – which relates to a work made en plein air in England in 1989.
1991 Awarded a Visual Arts/Craft Board (Australia Council) residency at Barcelona studio (June–September). Goes to Spain with Meg Williams. Amor and Williams also visit Paris and return to Australia via London and New York.
1992–93 Produces, for the journal Overland, six intaglio portraits of Australian writers: Helen Garner, 1992 (cat. no. E.068); Barry Hill, 1993 (E.070); DM (David Malouf), 1993 (E.072); RH (Robert Harris), 1993 (E.074); Poet, 1993, a portrait of Chris Wallace-Crabbe (E.080); and Barrie Reid, 1993 (E.081).
1992 Works on woodcuts to accompany poems by Gary Catalano (to be published in 1993).
Makes his first lithograph, a Spanish subject: Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes.
Makes his first intaglio portrait from life: AS (Andrew Southall) (cat. no. E.061).
1993 Publication of Mirrored Images, by Gary Catalano and Rick Amor (Niagara Galleries, Melbourne), with poems by Catalano and seven woodcuts by Amor.
Travels to China.
7 August: Buys house in Lucerne Crescent, Alphington. (The house is renovated before Amor and Williams take occupancy, in 1994.)
Exhibition: Niagara Galleries & NETS Victoria, Melbourne, Rick Amor & the Graphic Arts, Victorian and Tasmanian tour, 1993–94 (curator: Gary Catalano).
1994 April: Amor and Williams move to Lucerne Crescent, Alphington. The last print Amor makes at Dunmoochin is a drypoint self portrait (cat. no. E.085). The first print made at Alphington is the etching The room (cat. no. E.086).
At around this time, Amor buys ‘a huge amount of copper’ from Victory Metals, which arranges for plates to be cut to the sizes requested by the artist. He has continued to use these plates.
1995 Makes the woodcut The long sea, which turns out to be the last relief print to date (2017). From 1995 onwards, focuses on producing intaglio prints and lithographs.
1996 Receives commission to produce a large sculpture for Heide Museum of Modern Art; produces Running man, 1996–2003.
Awarded a Visual Arts/Craft Board (Australia Council) residency at Greene St Studio, New York, and goes there with Williams; Amor and Williams travel to New York via Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Paints portrait of Australian writer Peter Carey.
Amor and Williams return to Australia via London (with a side trip to Edinburgh) and Venice.
1997 Peter Carey at the VACB Studio, Soho, New York, 1996, selected as finalist for Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
19 November: Birth of Rafferty to Lliam Amor and Anne Coleman; he is Amor’s first grandchild.
1999 September: Appointed by the Australian War Memorial as an Official War Artist with Interfet (International Force East Timor), the Australian, UN-mandated mission to East Timor, to oversee the country’s transition to independence.
2000 Exhibition: Rick Amor: Official War Artist in East Timor, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 2 March – 2 April.
Awarded a Visual Arts/Craft Board (Australia Council) grant for artist’s residency in London. Is in London from March to June. Accompanied by Williams, Amor travels also to Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy (where Amor and Williams visit major Piero della Francesca sites).
2001 Publication of Gary Catalano’s monograph The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and His Art (Miegunyah Press, Melbourne).
Exhibition: East Timor works tour in the exhibition Keeping the Peace: Stories of Australian Peacekeepers, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and touring until 2003.
6 February: Birth of Remy to Lliam Amor and Anne Coleman; he is Amor’s second grandchild.
2002 Exhibition: Rick Amor & Sculpture, Benalla Art Gallery, Benalla, Victoria, 16 March – 8 May (curator: Simon Klose).
Exhibition: Rick Amor: The Sea, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, Victoria, 24 September – 27 October (curator: Rodney James).
3 August: Birth of Asha to Zoe Amor and Craig McDonald; she is Amor’s third grandchild.
2003 Exhibition: Included in 500 Fridays: Ten Years of Contemporary Plein Air Painting, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, Victoria, 1 February – 30 March (curator: Brian Hubber).
2004 Exhibition: Included in Place Made: Australian Print Workshop, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 31 January – 11 April, and touring (curators: Roger Butler and Anne Virgo).
February–March: Amor is diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). He continues to work.
Exhibition: Included in The Painted Self: Rick Amor, Peter Churcher, Kevin Lincoln, Stewart MacFarlane and Lewis Miller, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, Victoria, 13 July – 29 August (curator: Roger Leong).
July: Travels alone to London to see the exhibition Edward Hopper at Tate Modern.
October: Travels with Williams to New York.
November: Returns to Melbourne. The MDS is found to have become acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Amor undergoes chemotherapy.
2005 No etchings made in 2005.
Survey exhibition: Rick Amor: Standing in the Shadows, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria, 8 May – 26 June (prints not included) (curator: Robert Lindsay).
12 June: Amor undergoes a successful bone marrow transplant at Royal Melbourne Hospital, and is discharged after six weeks.
2006 Travels with Williams to New York to see the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art.
2007 Wins the McClelland Sculpture Award, which, at $100,000, is Australia’s richest award for sculpture. Amor donates all of the prize money to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, in thanks for saving his life.
Exhibition: Included in Masters of Emotion, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, Victoria, 20 April – 24 June (curator: Irena Zdanowicz).
Is one of a group of artists selected for a residency at the Venice Printmaking Studio, organized by Anne Virgo, Director of the Australian Print Workshop. The other artists selected were Jon Cattapan, Jan Senbergs and Louise Weaver.
Produces a set of thirteen intaglio prints, The Venice Series (cat. nos E.138–E.150).
2008 Exhibition: Rick Amor: A Single Mind, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen (Melbourne), 22 March – 13 July (curator: Linda Short).
Exhibition: Included in The Naked and the Nude, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, 13 September – 7 December (curator: Elizabeth Cross).
Exhibition: Included in Open Air: Portraits in the Landscape, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 3 December 2008 – 1 March 2009 (curators: Andrew Sayers, Wally Caruana and Sarah Engledow).
Publication of Gavin Fry’s monograph Rick Amor (Beagle Press: Sydney).
Travels with Williams to New York, via San Francisco and Las Vegas. Amor and Williams visit the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, and see a Klimt exhibition at the Neue Galerie, New York: Gustav Klimt: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections.
2009 February: Amor’s Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) returns and is successfully treated with T cells from bone marrow donor.
Irena Zdanowicz begins work on a catalogue raisonné of Amor’s prints.
June: Amor and Williams sail from Broome to Darwin along the Kimberley coast. Amor paints plein-air watercolours and draws Aboriginal rock art.
Exhibition: Penumbra: Sculptures and Drawings of Rick Amor, McClelland Sculpture Park + Art Gallery, Langwarrin, Victoria (curator: Robert Lindsay).
2010 Exhibition: Times like These: The Self Portraits of Rick Amor, Newcastle City Art Gallery, Newcastle, NSW, 27 February – 12 May (curator: Gavin Fry).
Exhibition: I Cover the Waterfront (exhibition of Amor’s plein-air watercolours and paintings), State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 26 March – 5 September (curator: Gerard Hayes).
Exhibition: Included in Bushfire, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria, 28 March – 25 July.
29 April: Birth of Laila to Zoe Amor and Craig McDonald; she is Amor’s fourth grandchild.
Exhibition: In (Two) Art (with Meg Williams, in an exhibition of the work of thirty artist couples), Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, NSW, 21 August – 10 October.
Amor funds the Rick Amor Drawing Prize at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
October: Short residency at the Art Vault print workshop in Mildura, Victoria. Visits Lake Mungo to make drawings. One of these is subsequently made into a lithograph (Moonrise: The walls of China, 2011).
2011 January–February: Travels with Williams to Myanmar; they sail down the Irrawaddy, from Mandalay to Yangon, and visit Cambodia and Thailand.
Exhibition: Included in Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas, British Museum, London, 26 May – 11 September (curator: Stephen Coppel). Amor and Williams travel to London to see the exhibition. They continue to Paris, where they see the exhibition Van Dongen: Fauve, anarchiste mondain, at the Musée d’Art Moderne.
19 June: Birth of Dashiell to Lliam Amor and Amanda Buckley; he is Amor’s fifth grandchild.
Exhibition: Included in Lines of Thinking, Langford 120, North Melbourne, 4–13 November.
2012 Exhibition: Catalyst: Rick Amor, Australian Print Workshop, Fitzroy (Melbourne), 5–26 May.
October–November: Travels with Williams to New York. Amor and Williams see the exhibition Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets, at the Museum of Modern Art, and Picasso Black and White at the Guggenheim Museum. They are in New York on 29 October when Hurricane Sandy hits the city – they are staying four blocks north of the blackout area.
2013 Exhibition: Rick Amor: From Study to Painting, Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Castlemaine, Victoria, 1 June – 28 July (curator: Peter Perry).
October: Travels with Williams to Turkey. They visit Cappadocia and the southern coast, including Ephesus, and explore the Islamic architecture of Istanbul.
Exhibition: Included in Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014.
Amor funds the biennial Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize, Montsalvat, Eltham (Melbourne).
2014 January: Travels with Williams by fishing boat to Erith Island in the Kent group in Bass Strait, where they stay for two weeks. Amor paints plein-air watercolours. One of these becomes the etching Erith and Deal Is., Bass Strait, 2014 (cat. no. E.175).
Exhibition: Included in The Piranesi Effect, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Parkville (Melbourne), 20 February – 25 May (curator: Jenny Long).
Exhibition: Included in Solitaire: Singular Figures in Modern and Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria: 22 February – 27 August (curator: Anthony Fitzpatrick).
3 June: Amor is diagnosed with Pancoast lung tumour, but recovers after chemo and radio therapy. He works on the plate for cat. no. E.175 while in his hospital bed.
Exhibition: Included in Five Centuries of Melancholia, University of Queensland Art Museum, St Lucia (Brisbane), 30 August – 30 November (curator: Andrea Bubenik).
Exhibition: Rick Amor: 21 Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 28 November 2014 – 1 March 2015 (curator: Sarah Engledow).
First commercial solo exhibition with Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane.
2015 Travels with Williams to Amsterdam to see the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works, at the Rijksmuseum. They also visit the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. They continue to Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm.
2016 Donates to the State Library of Victoria all extant state impressions, and a surviving edition impression, for each of his intaglio prints.
Exhibition: Rick Amor (paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints, selected by Amor), Daley Gallery, Trinity Grammar School, Kew (Melbourne), 2–6 May.
Exhibition: Rick Amor: Contemporary Romantic, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2 December 2016 – 30 April 2017 (curator: Maria Zagala).
2017 May: Travels to London to see the exhibition Giacometti at Tate Modern. Also sees America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s at the Royal Academy, and The American Dream at the British Museum.
15 July: Rick Amor: An Online Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints, by Irena Zdanowicz, launched at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, at the symposium ‘The Art of Attribution: The Catalogue Raisonné in the 21st Century’, organized jointly by the NGA and the Australian Institute of Art History at the University of Melbourne.