One of a few Rolls Royce Painted car of Pro Hart’s at his Broken HIll Gallery
Panasonic DMC FZ 35
Info Courtesy of Pro Harts WWW.
An Outback Legend
Pro Hart was a painter, a father, a husband. He travelled the world, but stayed in Broken Hill. He painted almost every day of his life but was disliked, even mocked by the “art mafia”. He met and was admired by Princes, Presidents and movie stars, but he was a shy man who preferred the company of his mates. He collected Rolls Royce"s, Rembrandt"s and Picasso"s, but loved Chinese takeaways and a cup of tea.
Pro Hart was born in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia in 1928. His early years were spent on “Larloona” a sheep station, around 130kms from Broken Hill, learning by correspondence school. He was drawing from a young age, illustrating his homework at seven and progressing steadily in his talent.
He continued to paint and draw after moving back to Broken Hill in his early twenties, even as he worked the long underground shifts in a mine. Indeed, the hard work and the characters in the mine provided much inspiration for the narrative category of his painting styles.
In 1960, at the age of 32 he married Raylee June Tonkin, 19, and together they had five children. He continued to paint and took art classes to help formalise his technique. He was discovered by Kim Bonython, a gallery owner from Adelaide, in 1962 and his popularity as an outback artist began to climb.
Collection after collection would sell out and Pro began travelling the world. He met Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers and his art resides in large international collections.
His creative spirit knew no bounds, experimenting with “performance art” years before it became fashionable; dropping paint from hot air balloons, creating ice sculptures and even using a cannon to distribute paint on his chosen medium.
Perhaps his most famous moment came with a series of television carpet commercials. He continued to experiment with art techniques all his life. Mainly working in oils and acrylics, Pro used any tool or method to achieve the desired outcome for his work.
He drew upon techniques of layering, chiaroscuro, glazing, scumbling, scratching and Alla prima. Pro was also a sculptor working with welded steel, bronze and ceramics.
In 1976 he was awarded an MBE for his services to art in Australia. In 1982 he received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement. This is granted to only one artist per continent and in 1983 he received an Australian Citizen of the Year Award.
Outside of painting, Pro collected vintage cars and a variety of motorbikes. He lifted weights to keep fit, was an “A” grade pistol shooter, loved music and inventing different kinds of engines and machines.
On March 28th at 2.45am Pro Hart died at his home in Broken Hill NSW.