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Pro Hart grievers have a go at the Gallery

By johnboy - 29 March 2006 15

The ABC is carrying a story in which the family of the recently deceased Pro Hart, and his local member have a go at the National Gallery for being seemingly alone in the major galleries of the world in never having exhibited the artist’s work.

Was the it the matter of Pro being almost unique in the Australian arts world for not having left-wing politics? Or was his work just rubbish?

What’s Your opinion?

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15 Responses to
Pro Hart grievers have a go at the Gallery
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Thumper 9:10 pm 12 Apr 06

I agree.

Pro Hart’s work is an Australian institution, no matter that he thought the current Liberal/ Howard government were a bunch of socialist lefties.

In fact, no matter how far right wing the elite thought him to be. Why is it that one cannot be taken seriously as an artist unless you have severe leftist views?

Does the name Whitlam jump into anyone’s head?

Art is not politics and politics is not art.

Let the man’s work speak for itself.

And it is good.

Artsy Fartsy 8:25 pm 12 Apr 06

I happened to know Pro Hart closely,Pro never had a marketing machine, he painted in his Home Town some 1200ks from Sydney, 500ks from Adelaide, 850Ks from Melbourne etc, Yet he was internationally renowned before the stain master carpet ad. That’s why they choose him, they wanted some one credible to carry the 100s of thousands they were spending. How does a bush boy end up the biggest name in Australian art without a marketing campaign, if he has nothing to offer??? Look at all his work, not just the landscapes hes been stereo typed for. The streets were lined by mourners for miles, he was a generous man Donating 100s of thousands of dollars, to hundreds of indviduals and organisations alike. Not like most drugged out Artists only spending on themselves.
Dont just belive the media, come to Broken Hill and ask for yourself.

Thumper 8:35 am 30 Mar 06


the ex Mr Hart is to get a State funeral.

That’s going a bit over the top. After all, he was just a painter.

Thumper 8:32 am 30 Mar 06


Yep. I know. The prolific Mr Done leapt on to the scene like a manic school child, in fact, some would say his paintings look like those of a school child, and I believe is still painting away somewhere in Sydney.

Spitfire3 4:56 pm 29 Mar 06

Erewego, the “Oh Meester Hart, what a mess!” ad was for a stain-resistant type of carpet.

terubo 4:41 pm 29 Mar 06

Hold on Thumps,
His innings isn’t over yet. Still painting prolifically, been hung in galleries around the world but not (to my knowledge) in any State gallery in Oz….and probably more the darling of the Tokyo/Okinawa sake set.

Thumper 4:16 pm 29 Mar 06

Ken Done was simply a oddity…

Popular with everyone, well, except me. But he will also be remembered as an integral part of Australia art history.

But he was a darling of the chardy Sydney set…

terubo 2:49 pm 29 Mar 06

“Therefore the elite could not be seen to be advocating his work in any way. However, he will always remain a popular and important part of Australian Arts history.”
-Feel the same way about one Kenneth Done?

erewego 2:38 pm 29 Mar 06

I liked him mostly for that add he did, with the cleaner going:
“O mister Hart, What a mess!!’
that was top shelf. Wouldve bought a bucket of whatever it was that he was flogging in that add but I dont think I ever noticed whhat it was

Sssanta 1:22 pm 29 Mar 06

Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that the carpet cleaners clean up the ‘art’ before any gallery can get chance to tear up the bherber and stick on a wall?

kimba 1:06 pm 29 Mar 06

I believe the fact that the NAG….ooops, I mean NGA doesn’t like his work actually gives Pro’s paintings more value.

Thumper 12:57 pm 29 Mar 06

AH, and therein lies the problem.

Pro Hart was never one of the leftist leaning Manning Clark worshipping paint flingers.

Therefore the elite could not be seen to be advocating his work in any way. However, he will always remain a popular and important part of Australian Arts history.

If Pro Hart had piped up in the media one day that Indigenous Australia was invaded, that we should not have gone to Vietnam, that Howard was bad, that Whitlam was a great man, that we should get out Iraq and while we’re at it stop chopping down forests whilst fighting for Indigenous land rights, I think we’d see him hanging all over the national gallery.

After all, look at the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan, or Blue Poles….

Having said that a few of the issues I listed above i agree with…)

bonfire 12:14 pm 29 Mar 06

i think there are important cultural reasons to hang pro hart in the nga. if they will hang dot paintings, then i cant see why they wont hang pro hart!

yes it does represent a style and theme of australian art which is popular.

which should justify inclusion in a national australian gallery.

fuck the elites.

Big Al 11:25 am 29 Mar 06

Yawn…what a non event. Pro Hart’s stale clichéd style of painting certainly appeals to a particular market – probably not because they appreciate or know anything about art, but because the artists marketing spin machine has elevated what would otherwise be a non-starter to a certain profile. All this crap about the NGA not wasting wall space on his dross is simply the marketing machine capitalizing on a one off event – the artists’ death. Pro Hart’s paintings do a good job of livening up pub walls and the occasional living room of the great unwashed and they do that job well – do they belong in the NGA? Does a chicken have lips?

che 11:07 am 29 Mar 06

he obviously just didn’t charge enough, all he had to do was whack another couple of zeros on the price tag and they would have snapped him up I’m sure

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