John Molvig

City Industrial
Oil on Canvas, 91 x 122cm (Detail)
Awarded the Transfield Art Prize, 1961

John Molvig was born in Newcastle in 1927. After working in various jobs and completing army service, he studied at East Sydney Technical College.

He travelled overseas between 1949 and 1952 and soon after his return to Australia moved to Brisbane where he spent most of the rest of his life. Molvig’s art was individualistic, Figurative and expressionist, his style developed from the violent, splintered works of the 1950s (for example Double Portrait 1957 in the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery) to the blocky, scumbly treatment in the Industrial Eden series of the early 1960s.

Molvig was an inspired portrait painter. He won the Archibald Prize with a portrait of Charles Blackman in 1966, although he had exhibited excellent portraits in previous Archibald’s without success. Molvig died in Brisbane in 1970.