Peter Powditch

b. 1942 — 2022

Peter Powditch was at the forefront of Australian pop art and his work widely recognised for his depictions of the female form. First showing his work in 1966, he enjoyed immediate notoriety with his bikini-clad subjects that were a celebration of Australian beach culture. Powditch’s most famous works, known as the Sun Torso series, were begun in 1970 when he was 28.

Powditch started his painting studies at East Sydney Technical School of Art and Design, now the National Art School, but he only stayed for one year moving on to study sculpture under Lyndon Dadswell as well as going on to study painting at John Olsen’s Bakery Art School. Other artists to mentor Powditch included Fred Williams, John Passmore, and John Brack.

Amongst the many awards he won, Powditch was awarded the Sulman Prize in Sydney in 1972. In 1973, he was the recipient of an Australian Council Grant to live and work in New York for a year. In 1981, Powditch was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to art.

Today, Peter Powditch remains an artist whose images are familiar to generations. His place is secure as an iconic Sydney master whose works will forever have a place in the lexicon of Australian art.

Text courtesy of Defiance Gallery, Sydney