In Australian Notebooks, Betty Churcher revisits some of the artworks she most cherishes—a seminal Picasso, early works of the Heidelberg School, a striking portrait by Lucian Freud—and invites us to look afresh at the treasures that can be found in Australian galleries. Taking in the glorious work of Australian artists such as John Olsen, Arthur Boyd, and Sidney Nolan, as well as masterpieces by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Giambattista Tiepolo, Betty draws out the particular charm and context of each piece through her own accomplished sketches. Interwoven with extraordinary stories—one canvas flew off the back of a truck on the Pacific Highway; another was imported from Imperial Russia, paid for with a briefcase full of cash—Betty’s engaging insights bring the artworks to life. With gorgeous full-color reproductions, this is a book to turn to again and again for inspiration, solace, and delight.
Betty Churcher AO is one of Australia's most loved cultural commentators. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, she was director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 1987 to 1990 and of the National Gallery of Australia from 1990 to 1997. She has written several acclaimed books, including Notebooks, The Art of War, Treasures of Canberra and Adam and Sarah Explore Turner, has been art critic for The Australian and has written and presented successful television art programs such as Take Five and Hidden Treasures. Earlier in her life she was a painter and won a travelling scholarship to Europe, where she became an associate and graduate of the Royal College of Art, London and gained a Master of Arts from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. She has four sons and seven grandchildren and lives in sheep country in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.