The guardian

Born Riga, Latvia 1939, arrived Australia 1950


Jan Senbergs is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost painters and printmakers and is well known for his depictions of industrial landscapes. He began his art training as an apprentice screenprinter in Melbourne at age fifteen, and had his first solo exhibition when he was twenty-one years old.

Influenced while still at school by the artist Leonard French, Senbergs’ paintings of the 1960s were dark abstract compositions painted in enamel, and reflected the artist’s strong graphic sensibility, honed through his compositional approach to screenprinting. One of Senbergs’ earliest paintings, The guardian (1963), with its towering central structure dwarfing small surrounding buildings, reveals the artist’s interest in imaginary landscapes and the sense of apocalyptic threat that has endured throughout his imagery.

In 1966 Senbergs won the Helena Rubenstein Travelling Art Scholarship and in 1973 represented Australia at the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil. A major survey exhibition, Jan Senbergs, Imagined Sites – Imagined Reality, was held at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne in 1994. His work was also represented in Field to Figuration, National Gallery of Victoria (1986) and Federation: Australian Art and Society, 1901-2001, National Gallery of Australia (2001).

His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, most state galleries, many regional galleries, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and several other international collections.