Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri


Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri 1932 - 2002

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was born in Tjuirri on Napperby Station. He passed away on 21 June 2002 in Alice Springs just prior to being awarded the Order of Australia.

His career as an artist began in the 50's when he carved snakes and goannas. By the 70's he was one of the most accomplished carvers in Central Australia. In 1971 he joined the community “The painting man” and when Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri joined this group of ‘dot and circle’ painters early he immediately distinguished himself as one of its most talented members and went on to create some of the largest and most complex paintings ever produced”. (Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004).

He is considered to be one of the most collected and renowned Aboriginal artists of all time and according to The Australian Indigenous Art Market is ranked fourth overall, only behind Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas and Albert Namitjira.
The art of Clifford Possum is notable for its manipulation of three-dimensional space. Many of his canvasses have strong figurative elements which stand out from the highly descriptive background dotting.

He was the chairman of the Papunya Tula Artists from the 1970's to the 1980's. His work is featured in many of the main galleries and collections around Australia and Internationaly,Collections include the National Gallery in Canberra and the New South Wales Art Gallery. His work has travelled extensively around the world, including, 'Dreamings' The Art of Aboriginal Australia in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and St Louis. He has had a book published dedicated to him and his paintings, 'The Art of Clifford Possum Japaltjarri', by Vivien Johnson.

Central Desert


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Palya Proper Fine Art operates in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, the lands of the Arrernte people. We acknowledge them as the traditional custodians and pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.