Hitchcock, Robert Charles - Fine Arts Sculptor – 1944
Robert Charles Hitchcock is an Australian sculptor of Indigenous Australian and Irish descent. He commenced his career in 1965 and works in a wide variety of subjects and materials. Hitchcock is one of the leading portrait sculptors currently working in Australia today. He is known for his life size and super life size bronze sculptures which are located in private collections as well as public works of art in Australia and overseas.
Hitchcock was born in Perth, Western Australia on 19th August 1944 to Winnifred Harris, a homemaker and Norm Hitchcock an excavation driver. In his youth Robert worked as a carpenter and entered formal study in his early twenties at the Department of Art at the Perth Technical College. He initially enrolled as a fine art student to major in painting, however a childhood accident had left him with one non seeing eye and one partially seeing eye which meant he had difficulty in mixing colours and seeing fine detail. Hitchcock discovered he had more of an affinity with sculpture. The early sculptures of Hitchcock were exploratory in nature and diverse in technique and style. Subject matter tended towards realism and expressionism of the "continuity of movement in space" and the subjects themselves included natural forms, and realistic modelling of animals and figures in movement. Hitchcock later moved away from this early realism which he sought to create in his sculptures to a "more stylized and abstract search of forms and planes". After leaving art college in 1969 he worked in plaster factories learning plaster piece moulding techniques, fibreglass factories and various bronze foundries.
His first commission came in 1970 to create a quarter life size sculpture of the champion race horse 'Aquanita'. As Hitchcock's reputation grew he received a number of similar commissions from the equestrian industries including racing, pacing, polo and quarter horse racing. These early works led in later life to him receiving commissions for over life size equestrian sculptures of horses in Norseman, Merredin, Moora and Ascot Racecourse, Western Australia. In the 1970s, Hitchcock began to receive increasingly significant recognition for his work including a series of sculptures of the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev which were purchased by the late Richard (Dickie) Buckle from London. Throughout his career he has created sculptures of prominent and interesting people. His portrait busts include the prominent eye surgeon Professor Ian Constable, Mary Raine, Professor Lesley Marchant and many prominent Australian public and sporting figures.
Towards the end of the 1970s Hitchcock's works took on a larger scale, which was particularly suited for public art commissions, one of the most significant of this period being his sculpture of Yagan. The life-size statue in bronze, depicting Yagan standing naked with a spear held across his shoulders was officially opened by Yagan Committee chairperson Elizabeth Hanson on 11 September 1984. It stands on Heirisson Island in the Swan River near Perth. A recent high profile commission was for the 'SAS Garden of Reflection' in Perth. This consists of three over life size SAS figures in various uniforms from 1957 (the inception of the SAS in Australia) with the remaining two in modern combat uniform and weapons. These commissions are highly accurate in detail and give a true representation of the Australia SAS soldier.
Working from his main studio/workshop Hitchcock continues his exploration of the continuity of movement in space. He continues to develop through his sculptures a sense of energy and movement; a continuing challenge when working with an inert mass. He also receives and accepts portrait bust commissions, publicly and privately from Australia and internationally. Hitchcock continues to be highly sought after and collectable and an especially fine nude, the third of five titled Dimity Sleeping produced in 1980 is in the Fairview Art Collection.