Pro Hart

Born in Broken Hill, NSW in 1928 Pro Hart grew up on the nearby family sheep station "Larloona" and he was educated via correspondence school, with his Mother as tutor.  From early childhood Pro loved to sketch and paint. He received no formal training and was largely self taught.

In his early twenties he worked as a miner. Painting emerged as a creative outlet to keep him sane from the long hard shifts underground. The characters in the mine started to populate his drawings, marking the start of the narrative style which he became famous for.

In 1960 he married Raylee June Tonkin with whom he went on to have five children. Two years later he was discovered by Kim Bonython, a gallery owner from Adelaide, and his popularity as an artist began to steadily climb. He became loved for his strong, lush-coloured landscapes and characterful outback scenes capturing the spirit of the bush and it’s people.  

Although he worked for the most part in oils and acrylics, Pro experimented endlessly with his medium and would use any tool or method available to him to achieve the outcome he desired – working in ceramics, sculpting in stone, steel and bronze. He was also a celebrated performance artist – dropping paint from hot air balloons, creating ice sculpture and firing paint from cannons.

Although disliked by art critics throughout his career, Pro’s work has been exhibited all over the world. He met with Kings, Queens and Presidents and Prime Ministers and his paintings are represented in the most prestigious international collections including the NGA and the Art Gallery of NSW, Harold Mertz and Lyndon Johnson in the States and Prince Philip’s private collection.

In 1976 Pro Hart was awarded an MBE for his services to art in Australia. In 1982 he received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement. This is granted to only one artist per continent and in 1983 he received an Australian Citizen of the Year Award.

 Pro Hart died at his home in Broken Hill, NSW in March 2006.