EMANUEL RAFT (1938 - 2015)
Emanuel Raft (Raftopoulos) was an Egyptian-born Australian abstract artist. born in Suez in 1938. He completed his secondary education at the British School, where he was first encouraged to draw and paint. Raft surreptitiously enrolled as a part-time student at the Bissietta Art School. In mid-1959, he sailed for Europe and for Milan. He studied at the Brere Academy, where Bissietta himself had studied. He emigrated to Sydney, where he began the paintings that would initially establish his reputation. They were of unnerving bleached bone-like forms surrounded by a funereal gloom. In late 1963, Paddington's Hungry Horse Gallery (now Luccio's restaurant) produced a calendar featuring the work of the 12 artists they would be exhibiting during the forthcoming year. The calendar's iconic cover showed the 12 - including Raft - crowded a little apprehensively on the gallery's dodgy first floor balcony. They represented most of the cream of Australian contemporary abstract artists. Through his career his work swung, pendulum like, between romanticism/expressionism and classicism/formality. In 1968, the National Gallery of Victoria mounted "The Field". It included two of Raft's tall "Monolith" sculptures whose brooding black areas were invigorated by tidy, narrow stripes of pulsating colour.