Schoolgirl signed 'BLACKMAN' lower right tempera on board 36 x 30.5cm (14 3/16 x 12in).
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Melbourne
Charles Blackman's formulation of a Schoolgirl series of images in the early 1950s was uniquely his own. Blackman's schoolgirl theme was based in part on the 1921 murder of Hawthorn schoolgirl Alma Tirtschke in a Melbourne city laneway. The artist could identify with the aloneness and anguish of a lost childhood. He used schoolgirl images as vehicles to work through his fears - as someone being watched, or as someone watching. The painting Schoolgirl references the psychological focus of the voyeur and the solitary figure. The elongated and enlarged shadow without light source enhances a mood with sinister overtones. In a large, oversized, hat concealing her eyes the uniformed schoolgirl tip toes silently into the unknown. A single doorway without a handle acts as a divide between the interior and exterior worlds. Blackman enhances the drama by flattening the picture plane and accentuating the atmosphere with a palette of acidic pinks and azure blues.