Collection Online

Soul singer at Luna Park

oil on composition board
(124.0 × 90.0 cm)
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by Mr John Perceval, Founder Benefactor, 1986
© Courtesy of the artist's estate
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 7
Level 2, NGV Australia
About the work

John Perceval’s experience with the war was limited. He enlisted voluntarily but only served for eight months due to a polio infection, which exempted him from active service. He remained a keen observer of Melbourne during the war years, painting intense and passionate works of the city and its people.

Soul Singer at Luna Park 1942 was inspired by the Jazz night club scene in Swanston Street, which was a haunt for service people on leave. Who can doubt that in this expressive interplay of dark and light the accordion player is singing the blues? Every brushstroke attests to the blues mixture of joy and sadness, the human condition.