In September 2006 the National Gallery of Victoria acquired at auction a remarkable painting by a virtually unknown artist: Christ Turning Out the Money Lenders, a work attributed by the auction house to a ‘Louis Duffy, 20th century’. This impressively large painting shows sixteen men dressed in c. 1940 business suits, gathered in tense confrontation in a modern-day retelling of the New Testament account of Christ expelling the money changers from the Temple. In Duffy’s composition, the Temple setting has been transmuted into a modern graveyard, and the money changers have morphed into mid-20th-century arms dealers trading munitions on the graves of the dead, the ultimate profit-and-loss indicators of their grim transactions.
The subsequent arrival of Duffy’s painting in Melbourne in late 2006 sparked considerable debate about the meaning and significance of the gallery’s new acquisition. Examination of the painting’s frame and stretcher provided physical leads that, when followed, led to the uncovering of yet further clues that gradually helped recover the remarkable story of Louis Duffy and his art.
Date: Monday 19 September 2016, 6:30-7:30pm.
Venue: Forum Lecture Theatre, Arts West (map).
Free event but bookings required via the University of Melbourne website.
Dr Ted Gott is Senior Curator of International Art, National Gallery of Victoria. He presents the narrative of that investigation, shifting from Melbourne to London and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, reconstructing both the context in which this work might have been created, and the life and career of this undeservedly neglected mid-twentieth century British artist.