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Published October 13th 2013
'Oh, Mr Hart - what a mess'
With the mention of Broken Hill, Pro Hart & his series of Dupont Stainmaster carpet ads immediately come to mind! Pictured here is an image of his first ad, produced in 1988, which was an immediate success! Image courtesy of AustralianAds.
Kevin Charles "Pro" Hart MBE (nicknamed "Professor" and later shortened to "Pro") was what would be considered a true outback pioneer in that he was an important contributor to the outback painting movement within Broken Hill.
Along with four other notable Broken Hill artists, Brushmen of the Bush (1973-1989) was formed - raising funds through exhibitions and art sales for important charitable organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Pictured here at right is Pro Hart and his fellow Brushmen of the Bush (from left to right): John Pickup, Jack Absalom, Hugh Schulz & Eric Minchin Image courtesy & copyright of A.J. Reade.
Pro Hart's charitable contributions to society, genuine good will and generosity resulted in him receiving many well-deserved accolades - such as being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (1976) and Australian Citizen of the Year (1983). A much loved and respected local, Broken Hill City Council honored Pro by declaring the year 2004 as "the year of Pro Hart"!
No medium or canvas was untouchable for Pro (remember the Stainmaster carpet ads which entertained us with Pro's performance art including cannon painting?)
Pro Hart's gallery is discretely located in a suburban street of Broken Hill. Well-known and respected for his charity and generosity, the entry fee is modest and of great value.
On arrival & entry to Pro Hart's gallery, his pristine collection of Rolls Royce cars greets visitors - one in particular stands out! Pictured here is his 1973 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce which Pro painted, depicting significant historical Australian scenes as a pro-Monarchy statement in 1999 - when others were lobbying for Australia to be made a Republic.
The gallery staff are welcoming and accommodating - it's more like entering someone's home. A gift shop offers various merchandise for sale, including Pro Hart branded prints, books, jigsaw puzzles and many more great gift/souvenirs.
Wandering through this gallery, visitors experience the essence of Pro Hart, with his Rodgers electric pipe organ in pride of place.
Including the ground floor - there are 3 levels to explore within Pro Hart's gallery.
Born in 1928, Pro Hart passed away peacefully in his own home in 2006 - his gallery truly celebrates who he was, not only as an artist but as a person and major identity of Broken Hill.
Kept intact and untouched in a glass enclosed display, is Pro Hart's studio & his last work of art. Pro Hart passed away in 2006, before he could finish this piece.
Largely self-taught, Pro transferred from working in the mines of Broken Hill to being a full-time artist soon after the success of his first one-man exhibition in 1962 (in Adelaide). Pro was born and raised in Broken Hill which is where he chose to remain, preferring the colourful people and rustic landscapes of this interesting and diverse outback town.
Pictured here is a detailed mural Pro Hart created to depict various moments in Australian history. The mural covers the walls of one room in the gallery.
It doesn't take a genius to realise why Pro Hart was an international success. Powerful and imaginative creations are evident in all his works, as well as Pro's obvious love for Australia and the outback which is demonstrated with humorous and seemingly effortless flair.
Contained within the mural by Pro Hart is this scene titled 'Robbing the Coach'.
A true innovator, the Pro Hart DNA ArtMark was developed by Pro in 2002 to assure investors and art collectors of his art works authenticity - reportedly one of the first artists in the world to do so. Retrospective application of the Pro Hart DNA ArtMark is available for older Pro Hart paintings.
A truly innovative and 'out of the square' artist, Pro Hart made some amazing creations using cannon art.
With so many talented artists and quality art galleries on offer, Broken Hill is truly a mecca for lovers of Australian art.
All my expectations were fully realised on visiting Pro Hart's Gallery.