THE MASTER PAINTER AUSTRALIA 008 M A S T E R PA I N T E R S A U S T R A L I A 100 Years in the Making The history of painting is one that spans centuries, dating back as far as 30,000 BC. Each painting style and technique grows out of the styles that came before it. Every great artist adds to the accomplishments of earlier painters. And many events throughout history influence and shape the painting industry, from the development of new materials through to the establishment of professional associations, like Master Painters. Painting Throughout History Since before the beginning of historic records, men have used paint for decoration and protection purposes. Cave dwellers are the earliest known artists. Coloured drawings of animals and people, dating from about 30,000 to 10,000 BC, have been found on the walls of caves in southern France and in Spain. The Egyptians and Mesopotamian civilisations carried on with the tradition of painting, regularly recording religious and real-life scenes on the walls of tombs and pyramids. The ancient Greeks and Romans were the first to bring painting into the home, with numerous wall murals and hand-painted pottery still surviving to this day. It can be shown that ‘saving the surface’ is not a comparatively modern idea. The work of painters for the first few centuries of the Middle Ages consisted almost entirely of decorative painting for the knights and nobles, including coats of arms, saddles, shields and the painting of pictures and decorations in the palaces. The church was the other major patron for painters during this time, with frescoes on church walls and book illustrationsbeing the main jobs of the Gothic painter. In 1350, the first recorded apprentice was indentured at the age of seven years old: a girl named Agnes Stockwell ‘Payntour’ was indentured to Thomas de Bournham ‘Paytour’ by her father. This was the birth of the apprentice painter. The history of painting throughout the Renaissance and into modern times is littered with amazing tales and feats of greatness. From the revolutionary Florentine painter Giotto (1267-1337) who broke with the Byzantine tradition of painting to create a much more naturalistic style, Flemish artist Jan van Eyck (1370-1441) who developed the technique of oil painting, through to Leonardo da Vinci and Michangelo, who both created astounding new styles and painting methods. “painting a brighter future” Painting in Modern Australia In 1909, a dispute broke out within Australia’s painting industry. The dispute was so serious and wide-reaching that it united both the union and non-union workers together for the betterment of the entire industry. During the course of the dispute, the ‘Sydney Trade Union of Painters’ (who was the claimant) and the Master Builders Association and Stuart Brothers went to court to decide a fair work environment The first President was Mr. B. Grice. for Australia’s painting industry. As a result of the dispute, the award wage for painters within Australia was developed—the profession of ‘painter’ in Australia was officially established and protected. While the award wage for painters was established in Australia in 1909, the formation of a professional association, tasked to represent all Australian painters, took slightly longer. According to the records of Decorator and Painter, in 1908 it appears that the proposal to hold a conference for all Australian painters was promoted in an editorial piece. In this editorial, a very successful conference for Coachbuilders and Wheelwrights was used as an example, with the idea being that a similar conference for Decorators and Painters would produce tangible results. The idea was well received by state-based painting associations and the idea promoted energetically, but it was not until 1913, some five years later that the representatives of the state-based painting associations came together. These representatives met to discuss a proposed Federal Painting Award. While some states did not feel that a Federal Painting Award was a serious threat, they agreed it was an opportune time to meet with fellow decorators and painters—all states were unanimous in their opinion to hold the first national Master Painters conference.