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Robert Litchfield JUNIPER A.O. (b.1929; d.2012)

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Robert Juniper was born in 1929, growing up in the wheat-belt town of Merredin, Western Australia. After studying commercial art and industrial design at Beckenham School of Art, England, Juniper returned to Western Australia in 1949. The young artist painted, taught and exhibited in Perth.

Widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary painters, Juniper is best known for his evocative portrayals of his beloved Western Australian landscape, particularly the outback. Journeying into the outback in the 1960s, Juniper found inspiration for his subjects among the shapes and textures which he translated into his abstract style. Blending cerebral, emotional and pictorial interpretations of space, he uses metaphorical images, with his landscapes stretching beyond the mind’s horizon. His paintings reflect European civilization’s transient footprint against the timeless resilience of the landscape and its Aboriginal heritage. Juniper draws inspiration for his poetic interpretations of the rugged landscape from English and Japanese painters of the early 1900s along with contemporary Australian artists including Sam Fullbrook.

Since 1974 Robert Juniper has concentrated solely on painting, sculpting and printmaking and has held many solo exhibitions throughout Australia. His work is represented in numerous major national and international public collections including National Gallery Australia, Art Gallery NSW, National Gallery of Victoria, corporate and private collections. A prolific artist, Juniper has exhibited in group shows of Australian contemporary art throughout London, USA, New Zealand, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and New Caledonia. 

Robert Juniper’s contribution to art has been recognized with many awards including the prestigious Wynne Prize in 1976 and 1980 and the Mona McCaughey Prize in 1980. In acknowledgement of his services to the arts in WA, the artist was awarded a Western Australia Week Council's Citizen of the Year award in 1979 and in 1984 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia. In 1998 Juniper was presented with a State Living Treasures Award by the Ministry for Culture and the Arts in Western Australia.  He was twice commissioned as the Festival of Perth artist in 1979 and again in 1999, the same year in which the Art Gallery of WA held a major survey exhibition of his work. Juniper was commissioned to design the stained glass window walls for The Bunbury Cathedral and designed the coat of arms for the Commonwealth Law Courts in Perth. Turning his artistic endeavours to raising funds for charity, Juniper decorated a fibreglass cow for the Margaret River Cow Parade and subsequent charity auction. The Juniper Gardens were named after the artist, showcasing his bronze sculptures.

Robert Juniper lives with his third wife in a secluded valley east of Perth where he paints in his limestone studio. He is also kept busy with his four children, 11 grandchildren and step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


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