KINGS Artist-Run


Lvl 1 / 171 King St.
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Wed–Sat, 12–6pm
+61 3 9642 0859
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Kings Artist-Run provides a location for contemporary art practice, supporting distinctive experimental projects by artists at all stages of their careers.
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Fitri Graham’s Melancholia: A Retrospective

Ida Lawrence
Kate O'Boyle
Kathleen Linn
Monika Proba
Sebastian Henry-Jones
Curated by Ida Lawrence

Front Gallery
6 Jan 2017–28 Jan 2017
Opening 12.00am 1 Jan 1970

KINGS Artist-Run proudly presents the first retrospective of Australia’s least celebrated artist, Fitri Graham. The survey honours the life, oeuvre and cultural legacy of Graham – a legacy that not only shaped the visual arts as we know it, but coloured so many of our memories.

Fitri Jane Graham (1922-1980) was an abstract painter whose exhibition Melancholia was negatively received in 1949. Haunted by its ‘failure’ Graham never touched a paintbrush again.

However, Melancholia was not as unappreciated as Graham had first perceived – imitations began appearing in the backgrounds of portrait photography and by the 1970s had become the dominant backdrop. Realising this, Graham took legal action against fourteen photography companies; devastatingly she lost.

To do justice to Graham and her story this long-awaited retrospective features oil paintings and watercolour studies from the original Melancholia series, notably Melancholia IV (the coveted piece recently rediscovered in the back of a rental property pantry), as well as important archival pieces from the Fitri Graham Foundation including exhibition reviews and Graham’s personal belongings and diaries.

Fitri Graham (b. 1922 Cremorne, Sydney, NSW – d. 1980 Queanbeyan, NSW) was an Australian abstract painter whose only solo exhibition, Melancholia was exhibited in 1949. –


Image credits:
1. Fitri Graham, Melancholia Study, detail, 1949, watercolour on paper, 21cm x 15cm. Courtesy Fitri Graham Foundation.
2. Fitri Graham, Melancholia VI, 1949, oil on canvas, 76cm x 51cm. Courtesy Fitri Graham Foundation.
3. Fitri Graham, Melancholia IX, 1949, oil on canvas, 168cm x 112 cm. Courtesy Fitri Graham Foundation.

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