Collection Online
oil on canvas
182.5 × 304.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of the artist in memory of Les Hawkins, 1978
© Peter Booth/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

In 1977, Booth exhibited Painting 1977, one of the most startling and powerful paintings in the history of Australian art. When it was first shown at Pinacotheca gallery in Melbourne, the gallery director Bruce Pollard declared it ‘beyond taste’, so radical did this work appear in the context of then-current minimalist and conceptual art. Booth’s aesthetic was his own, borne out of a genuine response to the private need to engender more emotion and context into his paintings.

The cloaked figure can be interpreted as the artist-everyman-prophet forced to begin a journey into an apocalyptic world as a consequence of humankind’s self-destructive violence and greed. The white dog can be read as a symbol of a new life force, and the sculptural profile as a symbol of the decay of civilisation. Other objects are interspersed with enlarged fragments from nature, echoing Booth’s belief that the part and the whole are but one and interchangeable.