Australian artist Pro Hart dies

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pro Hart, the self-taught, internationally-acclaimed Australian artist, died at home in Broken Hill on March 28 after family members decided to cease his medication. The 77-year-old had been ill with motor neurone disease. Family members described his passing as peaceful. Hart is a household name in Australia.

Hart’s son, John Hart, says a State funeral is being organised for his father. He says his father lost the ability to paint about six months ago. Pro Hart’s son David today said the funeral for the “brushman of the bush” will be held in the far-western New South Wales mining city of Broken Hill next Tuesday. “It will be held next Tuesday”, he said, “probably in the town’s civic centre.”

Born Kevin Charles Hart in Broken Hill on May 30, 1928, his mining mates nicknamed him ‘Professor’ due to his passion for invention. He started painting “cheeky” pictures on the wooden beams of the mines he worked in. Hart went to few art classes and started painting full-time in 1958.

Since then, he has exhibited all over the world, including London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. He also illustrated several books. Hart’s preoccupation with art began as a teenager on his family’s sheep station near Menindee.

His work hangs in collections all over the world. Agent Amanda Phillips says Hart was one of Australia’s most renowned artists yet his paintings are not in the National Gallery of Australia. “He’s a great Australian, I mean he’s been given an MBE for his services to art, he’s been honoured all around the world, his work hangs in major collections around the world, why isn’t he displayed here in Australia? A spokeswoman for the National Gallery confirmed they had a “very limited collection” of Pro Hart’s works although no paintings.

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