Image: Unknown photographer, Frank Norton Rockingham, c1960, courtesy Estate of Frank Norton

Image: Unknown photographer, Frank Norton Official War Artist painting a scene of embarkation at Port Taufiq Suez Canal, 1942. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial no. 023666

The City of Fremantle Art Collection presents an expansive retrospective exhibition which casts an eye into the extraordinary life of Frank Norton (1916-1983). A significant figure in the WA art scene, Norton was the first Official War Artist for the Royal Australian Navy and went on to become the Director of the Art Gallery of WA for 18 years (1958-1976).

Known as a painter of ships, Norton was a practical administrator not afraid of controversy. He worked tirelessly to herald a new era for the Art Gallery, establishing a collection of Aboriginal art and a new gallery as the centrepiece of the Perth Cultural Centre. Simultaneously he was forging a uniquely successful painting and design practice from his gallery office.

Frank Norton: Painter and Collector will showcase examples of his renowned paintings, drawings and prints of maritime subjects, with a strong focus upon Fremantle. The works will be drawn from the City’s Collection as well as private, corporate and public collections from around Australia.

The City of Fremantle Art Collection, established in 1958, is the largest municipal collection in WA with over 1400 works. The Collection’s focus on Fremantle artists and Australian prints celebrates the enduring importance of the visual arts to Fremantle. Image: Unknown photographer, Frank Norton, Rockingham, c1960, courtesy Estate of Frank Norton