Guide to the Papers of Juan Davila

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MS 9578 et al.

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Creator
Juan Davila
Title
Papers of Juan Davila
Date Range
1972-2007
Collection Number
MS 9578 et al.
Extent
19.2 metres (71 boxes + 8 folio boxes + 8 Postpak boxes + 2 other containers + 1 packet + 1 map folio)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia

Introduction

Scope and Contents

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).

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1495711).

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

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]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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.

Arrangement

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.

Collection Retrieval Advice

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 9578. Original Consignment

Correspondence, diaries, financial records, newspaper cuttings and cutting books.

Comprises 35 boxes, 4 folio boxes, 1 map folio.

Series 1. General correspondence and papers, 1975-97

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)

General correspondence and papers, 1975-81 (File 1) - Box 1
General correspondence and papers, 1982 (File 2) - Box 1
General correspondence and papers, 1983 (File 3 to 5) - Box 1
General correspondence and papers, 1984 (File 6 to 7) - Box 1
General correspondence and papers, 1985 (File 8 to 13) - Box 2
General correspondence and papers, 1984-86 (File 14) - Box 3
General papers and correspondence, 1986 (File 15 to 20) - Box 3
General correspondence and papers, 1987 (File 21 to 27) - Box 4
General correspondence and papers, 1988 (File 28 to 34) - Box 5
General correspondence and papers, 1989 (File 35 to 40) - Box 6
General correspondence and papers, 1990 (File 41 to 44) - Box 7
Correspondence relating to copyright issues associated with Davila's work, 1991-95 (File 45) - Box 7
General correspondence and papers, 1991 (File 46 to 52) - Box 7, 8
General correspondence and papers, 1992 (File 53 to 59) - Box 9
General correspondence and papers, 1993 (File 60-66) - Box 10
General correspondence and papers, 1994 (File 67 to 76) - Box 10
General correspondence and papers, 1995 (File 77 to 84) - Box 12, 13
General correspondence and papers, 1996 (File 85 to 93) - Box 13, 14, 15
Correspondence while in Chile, Oct-Nov 1996 (File 94 to 95) - Box 15
General correspondence and papers, Jan-May 1997 (File 96 to 99) - Box 16
Folio: Artist's proof of a print by Sue Schlessinger entitled ‘Lord Humungus', 1987 Note: (stored at HW map drawer 9). (File 100) - Folio-Box Map Folio (No. ?)

Series 2. Correspondence with Nelly Richard, 1976-96

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.

Correspondence, 1976-89 (File 1 to 3) - Box 16
Correspondence, 1984-90 (File 4) - Box 16
Correspondence, 1986-90 (File 5) - Box 17
Correspondence , Proposed Power Gallery, Sydney, Latin American Project, 1986-87 (File 6) - Box 17
Correspondence, 1988-90 (File 7) - Box 17
Correspondence, 1990-96 (File 8) - Box 17

Series 3. Correspondence with other Chileans, 1976-96

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.

Correspondence: Eugenio Dittborn, 1976-96 (File 1) - Box 17
Correspondence: Francesca Lombardo, 1982-93 (File 2) - Box 17
Correspondence: Patricio Marchant, c 1982 (File 3) - Box 17

Series 4. Diaries, 1982-96

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.

Diary, 1982 (Item 1) - Box 18
Diary, 1983 (Item 2) - Box 18
Diary, 1984 (Item 3) - Box 18
Diary, 1985 (Item 4) - Box 18
Diary, 1986 (Item 5) - Box 18
Diary, 1987 (Item 6) - Box 18
Diary, 1988 (Item 7) - Box 19
Diary, 1989 (Item 8) - Box 19
Diary, 1990 (Item 9) - Box 19
Diary, 1991 (Item 10) - Box 19
Diary, 1992 (Item 11) - Box 19
Diary, 1993 (Item 12) - Box 20
Diary, 1994 (Item 13) - Box 20
Diary, 1995 (Item 14) - Box 20
Diary, 1996 (Item 15) - Box 20

Series 5. Biographical papers

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.

Photocopies of photographs and newspaper cuttings (File 1) - Box 21
Folio item: family tree and photocopies of articles relating to Davila's family (File 2) - Folio 1

Series 6. Writings about art

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.

Writings of Davila (File 1 to 2) - Box 21
Writings of Nelly Richard (File 3 to 7) - Box 21, 22
Miscellaneous writings (File 8 to 10) - Box 22

Series 7. Financial papers, 1976-96

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.

Unfiled receipts, 1976-84 (File 1 to 2) - Box 23
Tax returns, 1976-84 (File 3) - Box 23
Financial papers, 1979/80 (File 4) - Box 23
Financial papers, 1980/81 (File 5) - Box 23
Financial papers, 1981/82 (File 6 to 7) - Box 23
Financial papers, 1982/83 (File 8 to 9) - Box 24
Financial papers, 1983/84 (File 10 to 11) - Box 24
Financial papers, 1984/85 (File 12 to 13) - Box 24
Financial papers, 1985/86 (File 14 to 16) - Box 25
Financial papers, 1986/87 (File 17 to 19) - Box 25, 26
Financial papers, 1987/88 (File 20 to 23) - Box 26, 27
Financial papers, 1988/89 (File 24 to 27) - Box 28
Financial papers, 1989/90 (File 28 to 31) - Box 27
Financial papers, 1990-91 (File 32 to 35) - Box 28
Financial papers, 1991/92 (File 36 to 39) - Box 29
Financial papers, 1992/93 (File 40 to 43) - Box 30, 31
Financial papers, 1993/94 (File 44 to 47) - Box 31, 32
Financial papers, 1994/95 (File 48 to 51) - Box 32, 33
Financial papers, 1995/96 (File 52 to 56) - Box 33, 34

Series 8. Newspaper cuttings about The liberator Simon Bolivar, 1994

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.

Articles in English (File 1) - Box 35
Cassette recording (File 1) - Box 35
Articles in Spanish (File 2 to 3) - Box 35
Folio items: loose cuttings and a bound book of cuttings (File 4 to 5) - Folio 1

Series 9. Cutting books, 1972-97

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.

Cutting book, 1972-82 (Item 1) - Folio 1
Cutting book, 1982-83 (Item 2) - Folio 2
Cutting book, 1983-85 (Item 3) - Folio 2
Cutting book, 1985-88 (Item 4) - Folio 2
Cutting book, 1988-91 (Item 5) - Folio 3
Cutting book, 1992-95 (Item 6) - Folio 3
Cutting book, 1995-97 (Item 7) - Folio 4

Class MS Acc07-078. Consignment Added 2007

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.

Class MS Acc07-081. Consignment Added 2007

Correspondence, diaries, taxation and copyright papers and family photographs.

Comprises 36 boxes, 2 folio boxes, 8 Postpak boxes, 2 other containers.

Correspondence, 1997 (File) - Box 1-2

Correspondence, 1998 (File) - Box 3

Correspondence, 1999 (File) - Box 4-5

Correspondence, 2000 (File) - Box 6-10

Correspondence, 2001 (File) - Box 11-14

Correspondence, 2002 (File) - Box 15-16

Correspondence, 2003 (File) - Box 17-18

Correspondence, 2004 (File) - Box 19-20

Correspondence, 2005 (File) - Box 20

Correspondence, 2006 (File) - Box 22

Correspondence, 2006 (File) - Box 23

Correspondence, Pre-Aug 2006 (File) - Box 24

Correspondence, Sept 2006-Jan 2007 (File) - Box 25

Correspondence, Sept-Nov 2006 (File) - Box 26

Correspondence, Jan-Mar 2006 (File) - Box 27

Correspondence, Jan-Mar 2006 (File) - Box 28

Letters, 2001-2002 (File) - Box 29

Letters - Show MCA, 2002-2005 (File) - Box 30

Letters, Apr 2005-Jan 2006 (File) - Box 31

Letters - Show MCA, Mar 2005-Feb 2006 (File) - Box 32

Diaries, 2000-2003 (File) - Box 33

Diaries, 1997-1999 (File) - Box 34

Diaries, 2004-2006 (File) - Box 35

Copyright, 2003?-2007 (File) - Box 36

Tax, 1996-1997, 2003-2004 (File) - Box 37-44

Family Photographs (File) - Box 45-47

Class MS Acc07-107. Consignment Added 2007

Five scrapbooks containing news clippings and one bundle of news clippings relating to Davila's work.

Comprises 1 folio box.

Class MS Acc08-007. Consignment Added 2008

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.


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