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Death of art world great David, 76.

Byline: Andrew Hirst Head of Content

A HUDDERSFIELD artist who forged an international reputation has died.

Dr David Blackburn from Crosland Moor was awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours in 2015.

Dr Blackburn, 76, died at Lindley Grange care home on Wednesday. A single man, he had suffered from ill health in recent years.

He became known as one of Britain's finest landscape painters.

Dr Blackburn was an only child and spent his early years painting and walking on the moors near Huddersfield.

It is this period which he credits as helping him to the cultivate the 'strong inner vision' which became a major hallmark of his art.

He won a scholarship to Huddersfield School of Art in the mid 1950s before studying at the Royal College of Art in London where he soon focused on landscape.

He later returned and was involved with universities in Manchester and Oxford before taking up a post at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Throughout the 1970s David lived between Britain and Australia. He lectured at institutions such as the University of Manchester and Melbourne University and also accepted a Visiting Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford, an experience which he described as 'a delightful interlude between trips.' In 1981 he took up a position as a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

When asked what the Australian landscape meant to him he said: "I think it's Paradise. At first it was difficult to come to terms with. I couldn't understand how one could draw where there was no apparent foreground, middle distance and background - only space."

That fascination for the Australian landscape was to exert a huge influence on his work which continued even when he returned in the 1990s to Huddersfield.

The eminent art historian Sir Kenneth Clark was one of the first to highlight Dr Blackburn's work. He said: "I don't know any artist to whom I can compare him.

"David Blackburn is not a landscape artist, not an abstractionist in the ordinary sense. He is a painter of metamorphosis."

Prof Joseph Burke from the University of Melbourne, said: "David Blackburn belongs to the English tradition of Blake and Palmer in that he has the miniaturist's love of precision and concentration of focus and yet ranges from the particular to large and universal themes." Dr Blackburn's funeral will be on Tuesday, April 12 at Huddersfield Crematorium at 10.30am.


| Left: Pastel on Paper 1986 and, right, Landscape the Olgas 1972 by David Blackburn

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Mar 26, 2016
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