69 Capel Street, West Melbourne VIC 3003

Open 12pm-5pm, Thursday - Sunday

Disability Access: KINGS Artist-Run is a wheelchair accessible venue. Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair accessible toilet. Please contact the gallery with any access requirements and we will endeavour to support your visit.

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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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KINGS Artist-Run acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate.

We offer our respect to Elders both past and present and extend this offer to all Australian First Nations people.

Fitri Graham’s Melancholia: A Retrospective

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

06 January 2017–28 January 2017

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.

See all projects by:

  • Ida Lawrence is a curator and artist from Sydney. Her curatorial projects include Heirlooms: From The Lawrence Family Collection (2015) and the retrospective, Quiet Subversions: Paintings By Arthur Parker (2015). –
  • Kate O’Boyle is an Adelaide-based emerging arts writer, editor and visual artist with a background in law, political science and art history. Kate has written for artists working in Australia, the United States and Mexico, and for such galleries as FELTspace, BLINDSIDE, Interlude, Kudos and Pierogi (NY).
  • Kathleen Linn is a Sydney-based writer and curator. Interested in how art, our lives, theory and technology intersect, Kathleen is currently exploring how we can conceptualise this in text-based forms.
  • Monika Proba studied Cultural Studies at Warsaw University and at Sorbonne. Currently a student of documentary filmmaking at Wajda School in Warsaw, Monika has written and directed a number of short documentary films, video installations and music videos.
  • Sebastian Henry-Jones is a current Masters student of Art Curatorship at Sydney University. His primary interest is in space as an artistic medium and finds both installation and exhibition formats (and the subtle differences between each) useful ways with which to consider indoor and outdoor environments.