COUNIHAN, Noel Jack
4 October 1913
5 July 1986
Extensive overseas travels and periods of residence including New Zealand, England, Europe and Russia 1939-1985
Artist (painter) | Artist (portrait) | Cartoonist | Drawer | Illustrator | Printmaker
Worked: Australia (VIC), England. Linocuts, Lithographs, Etchings, Screenprints
- 30 Logan Street, Canterbury, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Noel Jack Counihan was born in Melbourne, 4 October 1913. He studied drawing at the National Gallery School in 1930, and in 1931 joined Roy Dalgarno and Nutter Buzacott in renting their own studio. His first linocuts were made in 1932, and reflect his early readings of Marx. They were printed at James Flett’s press. Another early print was for the Melbourne University Club magazine Proletariat. Between 1934 and 1949 he was staff artist for the Melbourne Guardian.
During the Depression years, Counihan became familiar with the work of overseas artists. American left-wing publications such as New Masses brought his attention to the artists Hugh Gellert, Louis Lozowitz and William Gropper, all concerned with social conditions. The Belgian artist Frans Masereel also influenced his work, and in the mid-1930s Counihan saw examples by Kirchner and other German Expressionists.
In the early 1940s Counihan turned his attention to painting, and it was not until after the war that he resumed printmaking. His series of six linocuts, The Miners (1947), was printed on James Flett’s press, its source being a visit to Broken Hill in 1937, and his war time experiences at the Wonthaggi coal mines. While primarily a painter, he produced a large number of linocuts, lithographs and etchings.
His work has been collected widely, both within Australia and overseas, and has been included in a great many exhibitions.
Noel Counihan died in 1986. His biography written by Bernard Smith, was published in 1993.
© Roger Butler, 1981.
Published in Melbourne Woodcuts & Linocuts of the 1920s & 1930s, exhibition catalogue, Ballarat: Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 1981 and updated 2004.