The avant-garde artist Albert Tucker was unsettled by the drunken, licentious behaviour of young women and servicemen on leave in Melbourne’s blacked-out streets during the Second World War (1939–45).
…All these schoolgirls from 14 to 16 would rush home after school and put on short skirts made out of flags—red, white and blue—and go tarting along St Kilda Road with the GIs and, of course, diggers.
Tucker’s soldiers are predatory, pig-like thugs. Their female companions are reduced to sexual attributes—blonde hair, mascaraed eyelashes, red lip-sticked crescent mouths and exposed breasts and vulvas. Tucker later admitted that the paintings were highly subjective, reflecting the outrage of an ‘Edwardian puritan’.
© ALBERT & BARBARA TUCKER FOUNDATION. COURTESY OF SMITH & SINGER FINE ART
AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL COLLECTION ART28283
Reviewed 07 February 2022