This Proves That Hele’s the Real Deal

The Pink Dressing Gown’ (1962) oil on board 90cm x 59.5cm

Australian artist Sir Ivor Henry Thomas Hele, (Ivor Hele) was born on 13 June 1912. At the age of 15 he studied drawing and painting in Paris and Munich. By the age of 20, he married Jean Berry. By 1957 he divorced his first wife; and married June Weatherly.

  • Hele was severely self-critical and only ever held two exhibitions of his work; (1931 and 1958) and often burned paintings he was dissatisfied with.

He was the first appointed Australian WW2 artist, serving in New Guinea and North Africa. He also served as a war artist in the Korean War, therefore becoming the longest serving war artist for the Australian War Memorial.

  • During the War years, he completed more commissioned works than any other Australian artist in the history of Australian art.

Contemplation‘ oil on board 29×59.5 cm

Hele was also one of Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize winners, winning the Archibald Prize five times, including portraits of:

  • Laurie Thomas (1951),
  • Sir Henry Simpson Newland (1953)
  • Rt Hon R G Menzies (1954)
  • Robert Campbell Esq. (1955); and
  • Self Portrait (1957)

Hele was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1954. This was upgraded to a Commander (CBE) in 1969. In the New Year’s Honours of 1983 he was named a Knight Bachelor for his services to art.

  • He died on 2nd  December 1993.

Through his art, Hele be remembered by all.

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