The artist

R. Ian LLOYD William Robinson in his studio, Brisbane (detail) 2005. Colour giclée print. QUT Art Collection, Brisbane. Gift of the artist, 2009.

Born in Brisbane in 1936, William Robinson is a celebrated contemporary artist, best known for his landscapes and portraits. After graduating in 1962 from Brisbane's Central Technical College, an early forerunner of QUT's Gardens Point Campus, he began a long and distinguished career teaching art at several of the University's predecessor institutions. Robinson left teaching in 1989 to work full time as an artist and since then his work has achieved national prominence. With the award of two of Australia's most prestigious art prizes – the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 1987 and 1995, and the Wynne prize for landscape painting in 1990 and 1996 – Robinson's career as an artist flourished. His extensive links with QUT as a student and senior arts educator were augmented by the award of an honorary doctorate from the University in 1998. In 2007 the artist was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his outstanding achievement and service to the arts.

Robinson is critically acclaimed for his striking compositions of South East Queensland rainforests and seascapes of northern New South Wales. His work has changed the way we perceive the landscape through his distinctive, multi-viewpoint perspective. Robinson's work is represented in all major Australian public art museums as well as in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Vatican Museums, Vatican City, and the British Museum, London.

Photo of William Robinson
William Robinson in Queensland’s Gold Coast hinterland rainforest

Photo of William Robinson
William Robinson on his Beechmont farming property in the 1980s

1936
Born in Brisbane on 16 April, the second of four children to Ada, née Vogt, and Robert Robinson.

1943–49
Family lives in Fairfield, a southern Brisbane riverside suburb. Spends early schooling at Junction Park Primary School at nearby Annerley.

1950–53
Attends Brisbane State High School, South Brisbane. In 1953 sees the exhibition 'French Painting Today' in Brisbane, which leaves a lasting impression.

1954–56
Commences training as a primary school teacher at Queensland Teachers' Training College, Kelvin Grove. In 1955 awarded a two-year scholarship and embarks on an art teacher training course at Brisbane's Central Technical College. In 1956 awarded the College's Godfrey Rivers Memorial Medal for excellence in painting, sculpture, applied art and drawing.

1957–62
Appointed instructor in art at Central Technical College and works part-time towards the art teacher's diploma and diploma in drawing and painting, which he completes in 1962.

1958–59
Marries Shirley Rees, a former commercial art student at Central Technical College. The couple settles in Gaythorne, an inner north-west suburb of Brisbane, and the first of their six children is born in 1959.

1963–69
Commences six-year tenure as an art lecturer at Kedron Park Teachers' College. Family moves to Coorparoo on Brisbane's southside. In 1967 holds first solo exhibition at Design Arts Centre, Brisbane.

1970–71
Family moves to a three-hectare farm at Birkdale on Brisbane's eastern outskirts. Appointed Senior Lecturer in Art at Kelvin Grove Teachers' College (until 1975). In 1971 travels to Sydney to see 'Pierre Bonnard' exhibition, which exerts a strong influence on his art, apparent in his compositions of domestic interiors.

1975
Begins focusing on landscapes of Redland Bay district and Moreton Bay. Moves to Toowoomba for six months to teach at Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education.

1976–77
Starts teaching at North Brisbane College of Advanced Education (until 1981). In 1977 holds first solo exhibition at Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane. The theme of farmyard life becomes main subject matter in his art from the late 1970s.

1982–84
Appointed Senior Lecturer in Art at Brisbane College of Advanced Education (until 1989). In 1984 moves with family to 80-hectare farm at Beechmont in Queensland's Gold Coast hinterland and begins to paint the precipitous landscape of this subtropical rainforest area.

1987–89
Awarded the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 1987 for Equestrian self portrait. Completes first Creation landscape painting in 1988. Leaves teaching in 1989 and starts working as a full-time artist.

1990
Awarded the Wynne Prize for landscape in 1990 for The rainforest. Begins making lithographs. Travels overseas for the first time, visiting Greece, England, France, and Italy.

1991–92
The Robinsons' lives are devastated by the loss of two of their children. The artist becomes increasingly introspective and his work more contemplative. In 1992, commences 'Mountain' series, which the artist considers among his finest work.

1994–96
Moves to Kingscliff on the northern New South Wales coast, where the changing moods of the sea and sky become a primary inspirational focus for his work. Acquires a rainforest studio at Springbrook in the adjacent hinterland. In 1995, he wins the Archibald Prize for the second time, with Self portrait with stunned mullet. Travels to Paris where he makes lithographs at Atelier Bordas (and he makes subsequent prints there in 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2006). In 1996, he wins the Wynne Prize again for Creation landscape: Earth and sea.

1998
Awarded honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Queensland University of Technology.

2001
Returns to live in bayside Brisbane. Holds first solo exhibitions at Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. First full-survey exhibition of his work shown at Queensland Art Gallery.

2005
Purchases coastal retreat near Byron Bay and sells property at Springbrook.

2007–08
Appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). In 2008 moves from bayside Brisbane to the city's inner west.

2009
The William Robinson Gallery opens at QUT with the exhibition Realms of vision: The art of William Robinson.

2010
Hinterland: The rainforest works of William Robinson opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT. Returns to painting in the still life genre, largely as a result of moving back to live in the inner suburbs of Brisbane.

2011
Celebrates his 75th birthday. The William Robinson Gallery and QUT Art Museum host a major exhibition of key works from the artist's oeuvre and publish the accompanying monograph William Robinson: The transfigured landscape
The exhibition William Robinson: A portrait of the artist opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.  Robinson donates seven—of only eight self portraits produced—to QUT, including the Archibald Prize-winning paintings Equestrian self portrait 1987 and Self portrait with stunned mullet 1994.

2012
William Robinson: Insights, curated by Davida Allen, Betty Churcher AO and David Malouf AO, opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.

2013
William Robinson: The farmyards opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT. Completes The garden, the first multi-panel work produced since the Creation landscape series over ten years ago. Donates the eighth self portrait, Self portrait with basket 2003 to QUT.

2014–15
Donates Creation landscape: The dome of space and time, the final multi-panel work from the ‘Creation’ series, to QUT.
William Robinson: Infinite sphere
opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT. 
Starts revisiting farmyard works based on his sketches from 1984 and produces a multi-panel oil stick farmyard work. Shows a handful of gouache farmyard works alongside mostly still life images at his solo exhibition at Australian Galleries in 2015. 
William Robinson: Inspirations, curated by The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, opens in 2015 at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.

2016
Artist celebrates his 80th birthday. The William Robinson Gallery hosts a high tea and conversation with The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO and the artist.
William Robinson: Genesis
opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.

2017
Eternal present: The still life works of William Robinson, curated by John McDonald, opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT. 
William Robinson: Genesis tours to the Embassy of Australia in Washington D.C. 
Donates the 'Mountain' series, comprising five major landscape paintings produced in 1992–93, to QUT.

2018
The international tour of William Robinson: Genesis continues at the Australian Embassy in Paris. The exhibition returns to Australia to tour to Hamilton Gallery in Victoria and S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney. 
William Robinson: Nature imagined opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.

2019
William Robinson: Elixir of light, curated by Maureen Hansen, opens at the William Robinson Gallery, QUT.
Artist continues to live and work in Brisbane.

1957–62
Instructor in Art, Central Technical College, Brisbane

1963–69
Lecturer in Art, Kedron Park Teachers' College, Brisbane

1970–75
Senior Lecturer in Art, Kelvin Grove Teachers' College, Brisbane

1975
Senior Lecturer in Art, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Toowoomba (now University of Southern Queensland)

1976–81
Senior Lecturer in Art, North Brisbane College of Advanced Education

1982–89
Senior Lecturer in Art, Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now Queensland University of Technology)

1956
Godfrey Rivers Memorial Medal, Central Technical College, Brisbane

1969
Fred and Eleanor Schonell Prize, Redcliffe Art Contest, Redcliffe

1970
David Jones Annual Art Prize, Brisbane

1972
Eleanor Schonell Prize, Redcliffe Art Contest, Redcliffe

1987
Aberdare Prize for Landscape, Ipswich City Council Art Gallery, Ipswich 
Archibald Prize for Portraiture, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1990
Wynne Prize for Landscape, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1991-92
John McCaughey Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1995
Archibald Prize for Portraiture, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1996
Wynne Prize for Landscape, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1998
Honorary Doctorate, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

2002
Honorary Doctorate, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba

2005
Honorary Doctorate, Griffith University, Brisbane

2007
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), Canberra

2009
Chancellor's Outstanding Alumnus Award, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Photo of William Robinson
Photo of William Robinson
Photo of William Robinson
Photo of William Robinson
Photo of William Robinson