Art exhibition to celebrate 90th birthday

June 22, 2016 by Dr Klee Benveniste
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The State Library of South Australia is hosting a retrospective exhibition titled ‘FRANZ KEMPF – ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY’ celebrating Adelaide-based artist Franz Kempf’s 90th birthday and lifetime contribution to art and printmaking.

Rabbi Ben Tanny and Franz Kempf Photo: Rob Nachum

Rabbi Ben Tanny and Franz Kempf Photo: Rob Nachum

Franz Kempf, born in Melbourne in 1926, studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and then in Italy and Austria. After working as a film designer in the United Kingdom, he was appointed to the South Australian School of Art where he lectured for two decades. He was also a guest lecturer at prestigious institutions in the United Kingdom including the Slade School of Fine Art, the University of London and the Edinburgh College of Art. He also studied printmaking in the artist’s colony Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Israel.

In 1964, Kempf was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom. In 2002, he was awarded the honour of Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contribution to the arts. His work has also won numerous awards. In 2013 he received his most recent prize, the M.U.A. ‘Blake Prize for Human Justice’ for his oil painting The Outrageous Has Become Commonplace.

He became internationally recognised and has had over 90 solo exhibitions in Australia, America, China, Israel and Poland. In Australia alone, his paintings or prints are in over 40 public collections including the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Museum, Parliament House in Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Victorian Arts Centre, the state collections in Art Galleries of South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania, more than a dozen regional art galleries, various universities and countless private and corporate collections including the Jewish Museum of Australia.

He is also a past president and active member of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation and many of his works have had Jewish or social justice themes. His philanthropy through donation of art work for fundraising enabled many South Australian cultural and welfare organisations to raise charitable funds. He holds leadership roles in various arts organisations and personally awards a biennial prize in South Australia to encourage young printmakers.

The exhibition includes many items from his personal collection, dating from 1947 to the present, and portrays his journey as an artist and printmaker over those seven decades. As well as producing works in a variety of media and styles, exhibiting and lecturing, he has authored books on printmaking.

He reminisces in the exhibition catalogue: “I made the statement in the early 60’s that I would always be involved in the printmaking process, were I only to pull one print. Thirty years on, the graphic quality of ink on paper continues to excite me, be it the clear wash of water colour, the quality of ink on a monotype or the excitement of line when drawing with a quill”.

Franz Kempf continues to produce work in his studio, exhibit regularly and inspire the next generation of artists.

EXHIBITION DATES: 25th June to 14th August 2016.

Venue: STATE LIBRARY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Institute Gallery and Ante Room, Institute building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide, South Australia. Admission is free.

IN ADDITION: THE ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA is also honouring Franz Kempf by displaying all his works held in the South Australian State Collection from 24th June for a limited time in The Atrium, Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia. Admission is free.


2 Responses to “Art exhibition to celebrate 90th birthday”
  1. Judi Schiff says:

    Happy 90th Birthday, dear Franz.

    Congratulations on the many decades you have served the Australian art community and the Jewish community. Special memories of our involvement with the Print Council of Australia.

    Warmest wishes for continuing good health and much happiness in the years ahead.

    Judi Schiff

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    Wonderful ! And Mazel Tov ! Until 120.
    Can you please bring this latest exhibition to Perth?
    That would be wonderful !
    Erica Edelman

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