Tom Bass

Professional Biography

1937-40 Attends, Dattilo-Rubbo Atelier, Sydney, NSW
1941 Enlisted, Bass completes 3 months National Service Training, then is called up and sent to Bathurst
1942-45 Works as a clerk in the District Records Office, Sydney during WWII
1942 Group Art exhibition September Contempo Art Society, David Jones Gallery
1945 Discharged from National Service Winner, Sculpture section ‘Australia at War’ exhibition
1946-48 Attended & graduated, The National Art School ASTC (Hons), Sydney NSW (Initiated through the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme)
1948 Commission: Jack Earth (sandstone) Comfort Hill, Sutton Forest, NSW
1948 Commission: Crest of the Campbell Clan for Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, NSW
1949 Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Wynne Prize Competition
1949-50 Assistant sculptor to Lyndon Dadswell (1908-1986)
1950 Commission: The Mermaid Fountain (copper deposit) Private Garden, Cremorne, NSW
1950-53 Teacher, sculpture, National Art School, Sydney, NSW
1951 The Tea Drinkers (cast concrete) exhibited Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Wynne Prize Competition. Sculptures now with Belinda Moon, Cassilus, NSW
1951 Group Exhibition: (2-14 Jul) David Jones Art Gallery ‘The Sydney Group’
1951 Group Exhibition: (Nov-Dec) Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Society of Sculptors & Associates. First outdoor exhibition
1951-64 Occupied various executive positions with the Sculptor’s Society, NSW
1952 Group Exhibition: (20 Jan – Feb) Art Gallery of NSW, Society of Sculptors & Associate
1952 Commission: Brown Owl Fountain (Toadstool Fountain)(copper deposit), Girl Guides Training Centre, Turramurra, NSW
1952 Group Exhibition: (5 Nov) St Brigid’s Edgecliff, Sydney. The Studio Workshop organised by the Society of Sculptors & Associates
1952 Group Exhibition: (3-10 Dec) Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney ‘Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition’
1953 The Poll Hereford Bull (reconstituted stone) Harrington Park NSW
1953 Commission: The Student (sandstone) Main Gates, University of Sydney, NSW
1953 Group Exhibition: (14 Mar-30 April) Tate Gallery London, ‘International Sculpture Comp – The Unknown Political Prisoner’
1953 Group Exhibition: (13 Jun-12 Jul) Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Society of Sculptors & Associates, Third Exhibition
1953 Commission: Crucifix (copper deposit) Canisius College SJ, Pymble, NSW
1953-55 Commission: The Falconer (copper deposit) University of New South Wales, NSW
1954 Commission: St Joseph the Carpenter (polychrome plaster) Catholic Church, Warren, NSW
1954 Copper deposit technique established in Bass’ studio
1954-56 Commission: The Trial of Socrates (copper deposit) The University of Melbourne, Vic
1954-59 Commission: The Idea of a University (reconstituted stone) Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne, Vic
1955 Commission: Saint Francis Xavier (copper deposit) Roman Catholic Church, Ashbury, NSW
1955 Group Exhibition: (11 Feb-1 March) David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney, Society of Sculptors & Associates
1955 Group Exhibition: (28 Sep-19 Oct) Art Gallery of NSW ‘First Loan Exhibition’
1955-56 Commission: External Crucifix (copper deposit), St Augustine’s Church, Yass, NSW
1955-56 Commission: Reredos Crucifix (polychrome plaster), St Augustine’s Church, Yass, NSW
1955-56 Commission: St Paul the Sailmaker (polychrome plaster), St Augustine’s Church, Yass, NSW
1956 Group Exhibition: David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates ‘…with invited overseas exhibitors’
1956-59 Commission: Research (copper deposit) formerly the ICI Building, Sydney, NSW
1956-59 Commission: Herald Sculpture (copper deposit) Sydney Morning Herald Building, Sydney, NSW
1957 Group Exhibition: David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates ‘Sculpture in Architecture’
1958 Group Exhibition: (30 April-14 May) David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates
1958 Group Exhibition: (4-11 Oct) Commonwealth Bank, Sydney. ‘Waratah Spring Festival’ Panels for West Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne
1958-60 Commission: Edmund Rice (copper deposit) St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, NSW
1959 Commission: St Ignatius Riverview (copper deposit), NSW
1959 Commission: Baptismal Font (polychrome reconstituted stone and copper) St Joseph’s Church, Camperdown, NSW
1959-60 Commission: Fountain Figure (copper deposit) Chancellor’s Court, University of New South Wales, NSW
1959-61 Commission: Ethos (copper deposit) Civic Square, Canberra, ACT
1959-62 Commission: Our Lady Archetype of the Church (reconstituted stone) Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, Tas
1960-61 Commission: RACV Water Sculpture (copper deposit) RACN Building, Melbourne, Vic
1960-61 Commission: High Altar (polychrome reconstituted stone) Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, Tas
1960-62 Commission: AMP Emblem (copper deposit) AMP Building, Sydney Cove, NSW
1961 Commission: Votive Figure of the Sacred Heart (polychrome concrete) Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney, NSW
1961 Group Exhibition: (22 April-21 May) Mildura Art Gallery. Mildura Prize for Sculpture
1961 (illustration in catalogue only)
1961 Group Exhibition: (1-16 Nov) David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates
1962 Extended overseas tour (Europe)
1962-63 Commission: P&O Wall Fountain (copper fabrication) formerly the P&O Building, Hunter Street, Sydney, NSW
1962-63 Commission: Children’s Tree (bronze) CML Building, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Vic
1962-63 Commission: AGC Sculpture (copper fabrication) formerly AGC House, Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW
1963 Group Exhibition: (13-25 Nov) David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates
1963 Oz Magazine publishes the P&O Wall Fountain on the cover featuring three men apparently urinating into the Fountain –this and several actions by Oz leads to the an Obscenity Trial where Bass is called on behalf of the Defense.
1963-64 Commission: Transportation (copper fabrication) H.C. Sleigh Building, Queen Street, Melbourne, Vic
1964 Bass leaves the Sculptor’s Society, NSW
1964 Commission: Saint Luke Icon (polychrome reconstituted stone), St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW
1965 Quoting sculptor Robert Klippel, The Sydney Morning Herald publishes ‘Australian Sculpture Comes of Age – Or does it?’ by Craig McGregor that makes a personal attack on Bass and his work (6/5/1965)
1965-67 Bass launches a defamation suit against the John Fairfax and Sons (Herald) seeking an apology and compensation for damage to his reputation. Suit drags on for years and finally settled out of court
1965 Group Exhibition: Recent Australian Sculpture, Art Gallery of New South Wales
1965 Bass begins to doubt his philosophy about the Totemic sculpture
1965-66 Commission: Crucifix (polychrome plaster) Royal Military College, Duntroon, ACT
1966 Commission: MMI Sculpture (copper fabrication) MMI Building, Brisbane, Qld
1966 Commission: Votive Figure (copper fabrication) St Aloysius College, Adelaide, SA
1966 Group Exhibition: (Aug) Macquarie Galleries, Sydney. ‘Artists’ Trust Fund Exhibition’
1966-67 Commission: Coat of Arms (copper fabrication) Treasury Building, Canberra, ACT
1966-67 Commission: AMP Emblem (bronze) AMP Building, Adelaide, SA
1967 Commission: St Vincent the Paul Logo, Australia
1967-68 Commission: Lintel Sculpture (copper fabrication) National Library, Canberra, ACT
1968-69 Commission: Sculptured Emblem (bronze) Australian Chancery Building, Washington DC USA
1969 Commission: AMP Emblem (copper and bronze) Hobart, Tas
1969 Commission: Sculptured Altar (timber) For Fr Ted Kennedy St. Joseph’s Church, Neutral Bay, NSW (Relocated to St Vincent’s Church, Redfern, NSW)
1969 Commission: Our Lady and Christ the Priest (polychrome plaster, Catholic Seminary Manly, NSW, now at Good Shepherd Seminary Homebush
1969 Commission: Wall Sculpture (reconstituted stone) Poor Clares Monastery, Campbelltown, NSW
1969 Extended overseas tour to the USA (9 weeks)
1970 -80 Working on personal sculptures
1971 Commission: Entrance Sculpture (copper) Western Australian Institute of Technology, South Bentley, WA
1972 Group Exhibition: (26 Oct – 17 Nov) Sculpture Centre Gallery, Sydney. Official Opening
1973 Teacher of life study, National Art School, Sydney, NSW
1973 Bass renovates a Broadway studio over 6 months that will eventually become the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School
1973 Commission: The Genii (bronze) Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne, Vic
1974 Bass officially opens Tom Bass Sculpture School, Broadway
1976 Group Exhibition: (21 Sep-9 Oct) Sculpture Centre, Sydney. Society of Sculptors & Associates, ‘Twenty-fifth Anniversary exhibition’
1976 Commission: McWilliam (bronze) Hanwood near Griffith, NSW
1980 Solo exhibition: David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney
1984 Commission: The Art and The Sciences (reconstituted stone) Great Hall Sculptures University of Sydney, NSW
1986 Commission: Mary Immaculate (polychrome plaster) Catholic Church, Bossley Park, NSW
1987 Commission: Our Lady if Sorrows, (polychrome plaster) Cannosian Hospital, Brisbane, Qld
1987 Commission: Saint Paul (reconstituted stone) Aurora College, Moss Vale, NSW
1987 Commission: Magdalene Foundress (polychrome reconstituted stone) Cannosian Hospital, Brisbane, Qld
1988 Made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to sculpture
1988-89 Commission: Ascension (bronze and stainless steel) Nanarup, WA
1989 Commission: Christopher Robin (polychrome resin) Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital, Randwick, NSW
1995 Commission: Votive Reredos Cross (timber polychrome), St. Finbar’s Church, Glenbrook, NSW
1996 Tom Bass – Totem Maker co-authored by Tom Bass and Harris Smart is published
1997 Commission: St Peter Julian Eymard (cold cast bronze) St Patrick’s Church Melbourne Vic
1998 The Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School relocated to Erskineville, NSW
1998 Occasional Prayers by Tom Bass is published 1999 Group exhibition: Sculpture by the Sea Bondi, NSW
2001 Group exhibition: Sculpture in the City, Sydney NSW
2002 Head of Lionel Murphy (for bronze) Private collection
2002-06 Commission: Elizabeth (bronze) sculpture of Mrs. Macquarie
2003 Installed the Baker of Narromine (polychrome reconstituted stone), Donated to Narromine, NSW
2003 The Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School Incorporated as a not-for-profit Association
2003 September, TBSSS Inc placed on the Register of Cultural Organisations making donations fully Tax deductible
2004 Commission: St Augustin (cold cast bronze) low relief for St Augustin’s Church Yass, NSW
2006 Tom Bass – Totem Maker (revised edition) co-authored by Tom Bass and Harris Smart is released (first published in 1996)
2006 Unveiling of the Elizabeth (Campbell Macquarie) sculpture at Mawson Park, Campbelltown City, NSW
2006 Nov-Dec The first major retrospective Tom Bass Retrospective – Sydney Celebrates the Sculpture of Bass was staged at the Sydney Opera House.
2006 Tom Bass 2006 (ed Genevieve Carson) a sculpture book, was published to complement this exhibition.
2007-08 The Retrospective toured to Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
2008 Group Exhibiiton. Lines of Fire: Armed Forces to Art School July – August National Art School
2008 Installation of Bradman – portrait as part of the Captain’s Walk Cootamundra
2008 National Library of Australia 40th Birthday Events: Conversation with Tom Bass and Genevieve Carson
2009 Amicus Award based on the AMP sculpture Amicus in Re Certa
2009 Admitted to the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) at the University of Sydney.
2010 Tom Bass continued to be an inspiring mentor and to make sculpture until his death after a brief illness on 26th February 2010.