Born Italy 1939, arrived Australia 1949, died Melbourne 1978
George Baldessin studied painting, printmaking and sculpture at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1958–61). At the school’s print workshop he studied under Roy Bisley and Tate Adams, and came into contact with the influential artists John Brack, Leonard French and Fred Williams.
Baldessin studied abroad in 1962, first at the Chelsea Art School, London, and then in Milan at the Brera Academy of Fine Art. He also studied Japanese wood-block print techniques during a trip to Japan in 1966.
Baldessin’s figurative work, in which the female nude features almost exclusively, often conveys the tension between the beauty and temptations offered by the female body. Francis Bacon and Willem de Kooning’s ‘women series’ of the early 1950s were a great influence on Baldessin, as was the image of the circus performer throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Girl in striped dress with bouquet of flowers (c.1977), shows an intimate approach to the female figure, which also references the persona of Mary Magdalene.
By 1970 Baldessin had attained significant recognition for his work. He exhibited in Australia and internationally and was an influential figure within the Melbourne studios Olderfleet and Druckma Press.
In 1975 Baldessin represented Australia at the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil. In 1983 the National Gallery of Victoria presented a memorial exhibition which toured Australia.
Baldessin’s work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, all state galleries, many regional galleries in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, several university collections, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.