- Catalogue Number
- Title and Date
- Newspaper seller 1968
- Description of Featured Image
- A disabled, legless man sits in a low, wheeled trolley, leaning against a pillow at the left, his powerful arms crossed and his sleeves rolled up. Spread out before him, in the trolley, are three newspapers or magazines. The man is wearing spectacles. Behind him, outlining his head and shoulders, is a cross shape with multi-directional oblique stripes. The subject is densely etched.
- Where Made
- National Gallery of Victoria Art School, Melbourne
- Medium Category and Technique
- Intaglio Print: Etching, open-bite etching and burnishing on copper
- Wove paper. Identified papers: No papers identified, but only one type of stiff watercolour paper has been used.
Image size: 149 x 115 mm
- Artist’s Record Number
- EX.2. Amor’s intaglio record books do not contain an entry for this work.
- Printer(s) and Workshop(s)
- All impressions printed by Rick Amor at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, Melbourne.
- Summary Edition Information
- Nineteen states. Edition of twelve numbered impressions, 1968.
- Niagara Galleries & NETS Victoria 1993–94: Niagara Galleries & NETS Victoria, Melbourne, Rick Amor & the Graphic Arts, Victorian and Tasmanian tour, 1993–94, no. 2.
- Heide MoMA 2008: Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen (Melbourne), Rick Amor: A Single Mind, 22 March – 13 July 2008, no. 2, ed. 1/12.
- British Museum 2011: British Museum, London, Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas, 26 May – 11 September 2011, no. 83, ed. 3/12.
- Art Gallery of South Australia 2016–17: Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Rick Amor: Contemporary Romantic, 2 December 2016 – 30 April 2017 [no catalogue].
- Gary Catalano, The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and His Art, Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, Victoria, 2001, p. 38. For an illustration of the painting Morning train, 1968, see pl. 3.
- Linda Short (ed.), Rick Amor: A Single Mind (exh. cat.), Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria, 2008, pp. 118–19 (illus.), 152.
- Stephen Coppel, Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas (exh. cat.), British Museum Press, London, 2011, p. 135 (illus.).
- State Library of Victoria, Melbourne: nineteen state impressions, numbered 1 through 19; ed. 6/12.
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide: ed. 1/12 (20155G130).
- British Museum, London: ed. 3/12 (2006,0730.26).
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra: ed. 9/12 (91.793).
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne: ed. 10/12 (2012.396).
The subject of this etching is a man who used to sell newspapers on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, whom Amor would see every day on his way to the National Gallery of Victoria Art School (NGVAS). Both the subject matter and the rendering, with its emphatic contours, systematic vocabulary of marks, and deep biting, recall the works of Amor’s teacher John Brack, especially his etchings of medical subjects. However, the process of developing the image across a large number of states reflects directly the teaching of Murray Walker (b. 1937), Amor’s etching teacher at the NGVAS. The nineteen states of E.002 form a programmatic record of the procedures and steps involved in creating an etching, and document a learning process. The way in which the image has been deliberately and methodically constructed betrays its origins as one of Amor’s earliest works; however, it is also the most fully realized and successful of his early etchings. The lessons of intaglio printmaking, especially the opportunities it affords for changing an image by reworking the plate, were something that Amor would continue to exploit, albeit in an instinctive rather than a systematic way.
The major changes in the development of the image began in the second state, with the addition of details identifying the three blank sheets of paper as newsprint, followed by the addition of tonal open-bite etching in the fourth state, the introduction of a large cross shape behind the figure in the tenth state, and the insertion of multi-directional patches of diagonal hatching in the twelfth state.
This etching preceded several painted versions of the subject. The first was a small oil, which remains in Amor’s collection. A larger version in oils was submitted in 1968 as a scholarship painting to the NGVAS; this work was destroyed by the artist in 1969. Another, related version was painted in 1974.
Gary Catalano observed that the man’s likeness reappears in the large central figure in Morning train, a painting that also dates from 1968 (Catalano 2001), and he saw this as evidence of the early development of Amor’s personal vocabulary of images. Stephen Coppel has suggested that the dense mesh of hatching that covers the image in the etching might be seen as a metaphor for the man’s entrapment in his disabled condition (Coppel 2011). The defining – and confining – cross shape behind the man supports such a reading of the image.
The copper plate on which E.002 was made has been lost.
- Male figure
Record last updated 09/02/2021