National Library of Australia
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The collection comprises correspondence, diaries, financial records, newspaper cuttings and cutting books. Approximately one third of the collection is in Spanish.
Documenting as they do Davila's dealings with galleries, curators, art dealers, the media and government bodies, the papers provide an insight into the Australian art scene from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. They also provide an understanding of the difficulties encountered by artists in making a living from and practising their art. Issues such as the funding of art, copyright of artworks, public opinion about art and censorship are also raised in these papers.
The correspondence is extensive and provides a comprehensive record of Davila's career and his philosophies about art. Although mostly business related, some of the correspondence does include personal messages. Correspondents include Peter Bellas, Ian Britain, Eugenio Dittborn, Paul Foss, Paul Greenway, Tim Guider, Francesca Lombardo, Patricio Marchant, Jan Minchin (Tolarno Gallery), Georges Mora (Tolarno), Bernice Murphy , Roslyn Oxley, Leon Paroissien, Gary Sangster, Paul Taylor, Nelly Richard, William Walters and Jonathon Watkins (Chisenhale Gallery, London).
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1495711).
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Juan Davila, National Library of Australia, [class number, box number and series and/or file number]'.
The original consignment was acquired from Juan Davila in 1997 under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme. Further consignments were received in 2007 and 2008.
Davila accumulated the papers in this collection in chronological order by year, although not chronologically within each year. This arrangement has been retained by the Library.
Please note: each consignment in this collection has a separate box number sequence (i.e. there are multiple Box 1's). Please cite the relevant Class number as well as the Box number when requesting retrieval of material from the collection.
Artist Juan Davila was born in Santiago, Chile in 1946. From 1951-63 he attended school at the Colegio Verbo Divino. From 1969 to 1972 he attended the University of Chile, studying firstly at the Law School and then at the Fine Arts School. Davila moved to Australia to live in 1974.
Davila is an artist of both national and international standing. He produces controversial and often confronting art works, which combine elements of pop art, comic strip art, graffiti, pornography and transvestism to convey his ideas about a variety of issues including sexuality, politics, the art world and current affairs. He has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas.
Davila's art has often provoked strong reactions. In 1982 he clashed with morals crusader Fred Nile and the New South Wales Police when one of his works, Stupid as an artist, was removed from an exhibition. The then Premier, Neville Wran, intervened and a debate about the police role in art ensued. In 1994, his work The liberator Simon Bolivar, an irreverent painting of the hero who liberated Latin America from Spanish colonisation, provoked a diplomatic incident which led to the Chilean government issuing an apology to the governments of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador.
Davila lives in Melbourne, but spends part of each year in Chile.
Correspondence, diaries, financial records, newspaper cuttings and cutting books.
Comprises 35 boxes, 4 folio boxes, 1 map folio.
This series comprises the large quantity of correspondence and papers accumulated by Davila relating to his career as an artist, both in Australia and overseas. Over the years, he has divided his time between Australia and Chile where his family remain and where he regularly exhibits his work. Approximately a quarter of the correspondence is in Spanish. Although mostly business related, some of the correspondence does include personal messages. There are occasional postcards, cards and letters from friends, although most are identified by first name only. A large part of the correspondence is with major private and public galleries and relates to arrangements to exhibit, promote and sell Davila's work. For a number of years, the two main Australian galleries dealing with Davila's work were Tolarano in Melbourne and Roslyn Oxley9 in Sydney. Correspondents include Peter Bellas, Ian Britain, Paul Foss, Paul Greenway, Tim Guider, Jan Minchin and Georges Mora (Tolarno Gallery), Bernice Murphy , Roslyn Oxley, Leon Paroissien, Gary Sangster, Paul Taylor, William Walters and Jonathon Watkins (Chisenhale Gallery, London)
This series contains correspondence between Davila and French/Chilean author, art critic, curator and gallery director Nelly Richard. The bulk of the correspondence is in Spanish.
Davila kept separate files for his correspondence with artist Eugenio Dittborn, writer Francesca Lombardo and writer/philosopher Patricio Marchant, all of whom are Chilean. These files are contained in this series. The correspondence is in Spanish.
This series comprises a complete set of Davila's diaries for the period 1982-96. They contain appointments, brief reminder notes of tasks to be done and, in some cases, ephemera in the form of invitations, business cards and travel tickets.
A small quantity of biographical material about Davila and his family is contained in this series. It comprises photocopies of photographs and newspaper cuttings and a family tree.
This series contains photocopies of papers, journal articles and book chapters together with typescripts of art related writings accumulated by Davila. Included are some of his own writings, the writings of Nelly Richard (in Spanish) and the writings of miscellaneous authors.
This series comprises a large collection of financial papers accumulated by Davila for taxation purposes. Included are income statements, tax returns and receipts associated with his artwork, day-to-day living expenses and travel. Receipts for the period 1976-80 were grouped together by Davila into one file. Financial papers for the financial years 1979/80 to 1984/85 were grouped unsorted by him into financial year. For each financial year from 1985/86 onwards, papers have been grouped by Davila into envelopes by expenditure category. Also from this date, there is an accompanying expenditure ledger for each financial year. Davila's arrangement of the papers has been retained.
Contained in this series is a large group of newspaper cuttings from 1994 relating to Davila's work The liberator Simon Bolivar. An irreverent painting of the hero who liberated Latin America from Spanish colonisation, it was produced as part of a project called ‘the School of Santiago' which was funded by the Chilean Ministry of Education. The work sparked a diplomatic storm when it was exhibited. The Chilean government was forced to issue an apology to the governments of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador. Only a small portion of the cuttings are in English. Included with the cuttings is a cassette recording in Spanish, which appears to be an interview relating to the work. The cassette is dated 20 August 1994.
This series comprises seven large cutting books containing cuttings of newspaper and journal articles and ephemera relating to Davila's activities as an artist and to art in general.
Copy of the book Juan Davila, by Guy Brett and Roger Benjamin, with writings by Juan Davila (Melbourne University Press, 2006).
Comprises 1 folio box.
Correspondence, diaries, taxation and copyright papers and family photographs.
Comprises 36 boxes, 2 folio boxes, 8 Postpak boxes, 2 other containers.
Five scrapbooks containing news clippings and one bundle of news clippings relating to Davila's work.
A listing of the contents of Davila's personal library, prepared by Dr John Thompson. The library itself was presented to the Australian National University Library.
Comprises 1 packet.