Charles Blackman, Sleeping Schoolgirl 1954, oil on board, 76 x 101.2 cm

Heide Museum of Modern Art is requesting any information or assistance on the whereabouts of Charles Blackman’s Sleeping Schoolgirl 1954 (pictured), for inclusion in an upcoming exhibition that reunites the artist’s celebrated Schoolgirl series for the first time since its creation in the early 1950s.

Sleeping Schoolgirl 1954 was sold in the 1960s by Julian Sterling, Melbourne to a British collector, and it subsequently came up at auction at Christies, London on 12 December 2007, listed as ‘the property of a lady’.

It was sold at that point and is thought to have returned to Australia, but efforts to find the current owner have been unsuccessful.

Charles Blackman’s compelling Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, marked a turning point in the artist’s career, revealing him as a significant painter of modern life in the post-war era. Through his evocative depictions of uniformed schoolgirls in isolated urban settings, Blackman explored the themes of vulnerability, alienation, and innocence under threat. He drew inspiration from a range of sources, from an unsolved murder to the lyrical poetry of John Shaw Neilson, surrealist illustrations by Odilon Redon, and direct observations of schoolchildren interacting. This landmark exhibition reunites more than forty major paintings for the first time, and includes related works on paper and a fascinating array of archival material.

Sleeping Schoolgirl 1954 is a powerful and rare image that reflects the monochromatic, more abstracted, style that Blackman experimented with in the images towards the end of the series.

Please contact Heide curator Kendrah Morgan with any information relating to the painting’s whereabouts.
03 9850 1500