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Albert Lee Tucker (29 Dec. 1914 – 23 Oct. 1999); Australian artist, and member of the Heide Circle, a group of modernist artists and writers that centered on art patrons John and Sunday Reed, whose home, "Heide", located in Bulleen, near Heidelberg (outside Melbourne), was a haven for the group.
Tucker left school at 14 to help support his family and had no formal art training, but obtained work as a house painter, cartoonist and commercial illustrator, in an advertising agency before joining the commercial artist John Vickery. For 7 years he attended the Victorian Artists' Society evening life drawing class 3 nights a week.
Tucker's main inspirations include post-impressionists, expressionists and social realists, as well as personal experience. Tucker's work was strongly influenced by the realistic reflections of 2 important émigré artists, Josl Bergner and Danila Vassilieff, who arrived in Melbourne in the late 1930s about the same time that Tucker began to explore images of the Great Depression. Tucker also met Sunday and John Reed, members of the Contemporary Art Society, which was set up in 1938 by George Bell, in opposition to the government Australian Academy of Art, which was believed to promote conservative art and not the modernists.
Tucker's first significant works were produced during his involvement in the army. In 1940, Tucker was called up for army service and spent most of his time working in Heidelberg Military Hospital drawing patients suffering from wounds and mental illnesses as a result of war. He produced 3 important works at this stage, Man at Table, a pen and ink illustration of a man whose nose had been sliced off by a shell fragment, The Waste Land, an image of death sitting on a stool watching and waiting, and Floating Figures, of 2 figures floating down a hall, a third with a demented smile. All of these images illustrated the horror and madness of war, but ...