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Douglas Baulch (1917–1996)

Douglas Baulch, 1963

Douglas Baulch, 1963

photo supplied by Kevin Baulch

Douglas Baulch went to art school with Sidney Nolan and though their careers went different ways, the pair remained friends.

He exhibited successfully more than 30 times and was well respected by his peers for his natural talent and resistance to the in vogue abstract movement. This effected his mainstream success, but he always expected to become famous after his death.

His wife Lyla said "He was a great patron for many charities. One time he did a painting of the Victorian Government House and we were taking it to the Governor for a showing.

He wasn't there, and I knew the Queen was staying there, so I wrote her a note asking her to see my husband's painting. I received a letter back saying that she was most impressed".

Mr Baulch was born in Malvern, Victoria, and married Lyla in 1944, after meeting her at a dance at Leggett's in Prahran.

He worked as a photographer with Athol and Schmith in Collins St in the 1930s. He taught art at Monash University for 15 years and ran his own school at home.

During World War II, he served with the army at Townsville. He volunteered for overseas service but was turned down. He later joined the RAAF.

He was most prolific as an artist in the 1960s, exhibiting widely and appearing on the TV's 'This Week Has Seven Days', teaching people how to paint.

He also wrote for the Sun News-Pictorial.

Mr Baulch's work found its way to Paris, Belgium, Hong Kong and the US.

But just as his career was taking off the family suffered a tragedy with the sudden death of their son, Michael. Though he kept painting, he stopped exhibiting.

A father of eight, Mr Baulch also loved gardening. He grew plants to show at competitions and won many ribbons and prizes.

Mrs Baulch said: "He was a quiet man who was very dedicated to his art. He didn't like abstract paintings. Only real life or portraits.

"I used to say that if there was a fire in the house, he'd probably rush in to get his paintings and not the kids. He always denied it."

Mr Baulch worked in many mediums — oils, watercolours, pastels and charcoals. He also did fine pen-and-ink drawings and pencil sketches.

He admired Buckmaster, Sir William Dargie, Rembrandt, Constable and Gainsborough.

Mrs Baulch said she knew nothing about art when she met her husband.

"But he gave us all a passion and understanding for the nobler things in life," she said.

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Citation details

'Baulch, Douglas (1917–1996)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

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