For over 100 years the Hart name has been synonymous with Australian Art
The Hart family has been creating art for more than 100 years.
Beginning with David’s grandmother Kath in the early 1900’s, the Hart family generations have gone on to become the icons of art in Australia.
1928 – 2006
Pro Hart was discovered by Kym Bonython (Art Dealer) in 1962. Over his career, Pro’s popularity as an outback larrikin artist, saw career rise to fame and fortune as his artwork began to fill both private and corporate art collections around Australia and the world. Pro’s unique styles, and his exploration of new and expressive techniques, underpinned his work, and over a 50 year period, cemented him as one of Australia’s truly great artists.
Pro Hart was one of Australia’s most popular and controversial artists. Born Kevin Charles Hart in Broken Hill, NSW on 30 May 1928, his early years were spent on the family sheep property, “Larloona Station,” around 130 kms south east of Broken Hill near Menindee, NSW.
Pro Hart’s First Artwork
Pro’s first real introduction to art was during his childhood years whilst studying via correspondence school lessons at Larloona Station. With his mother (Kath Hart) acting as tutor/teacher, both Pro and his brother Bob were educated at the isolated outback property. It was during these early years that Pro first discovered he was able to sketch and paint, even from as young as seven years old. Choosing to illustrate his school work– often in preference to writing, Pro was encouraged to express his ideas through his artwork. Purely self-taught with no formal art training, Pro soon began to develop what would later become the framework for his unique painting style.
Pro Hart’s Subject
In his early teens, Pro and his family moved to Broken Hill in order for Pro and his brother Bob to attend Marist Brothers college for their final high school years. After completing his education, Pro started work in the Broken Hill mines. Often working twelve-hour shifts, he was forced to paint long into the night and on weekends. His time spent working underground made a lasting impression on him and became a great source of inspiration, as did years on the surface around the arid mining town. Pro enjoyed the outback lifestyle and was a keen observer of life and people. The local activities such as horse and dog races were an endless source of inspiration, especially the action around bars and bookies’ tents. Pro loved to illustrate Australian people doing life, whether it was in the outback or by the water, his ability to capture the spirit of Australia through his artwork was perhaps his greatest gift.
Pro Hart was originally discovered by south Australian art dealer Kym Bonython in 1962. Upon visiting Broken Hill, Kym stopped at a service station to refuel his car when he came across an art display inside the store that featured some paintings by Pro. Seeing potential in his artwork, Kym contacted Pro and offered him his first solo art exhibition in the city of Adelaide S.A. As time went by, Pro’s popularity as an outback larrikin artist, saw career rise to fame and fortune as his artwork began to fill both private and corporate art collections around Australia and around the world.
Pro was also an accomplished sculptor. In the late 1960s he began using ceramics, and experimenting with bronze and copper plates, before eventually discovering his love for welding steel. Many of Pro’s steel sculptures can still be found around the city of Broken Hill, and of course some of the best examples can be found at the Pro Hart Art Gallery on the northern side of the city.
Pro Hart never liked to be referred to as a landscape painter, however his landscapes were perhaps among his most popular and most recognisable works; many of which depicted his early memories of life around the sheep station where he grew up. Pro particularly loved to find comedy in outback life, and events such as the Country Race Meetings, family picnics, and outback celebrations, with many of these subjects becoming an extension of his landscape work. Pro found inspiration wherever he went. Being a keen observer of life and people, his work expanded into many styles and subjects, from river banks to creek beds and beaches to cities. His quirky insect studies and flowers paintings also became some of his most recognised works, some of them crossing over from canvas to television during the 1990’s when they featured in several commercials for stain master carpet.
Over his long career, Pro became highly successful as an artist; In recognition of his outstanding service to the arts, he was awarded the distinction of Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1976, and was also admitted to the Order of St John as a Serving Brother by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip of England. In 1982 he received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement. This award is granted to only one artist per continent. In 1983 Pro also received an Australian Citizen of the Year Award.
Pro Hart paintings now hang in the Art Galleries of NSW and SA, the Mertz Collection, the White House Collection in the U.S.A, Buckingham Palace, London, as well as private and corporate collections around Australia and around the world.
Up until 2008 the Pro Hart Gallery in Broken Hill, housed one of the largest private collections in Australia including a major collection of over 300 Dobell etchings, and featured both Australian and European masters. Following Pro Hart’s death in March of 2006 the gallery was reconfigured to house a retrospective of pro’s artwork spanning from 1962 – 2006. Over his career Pro Hart featured in tv commercials and in numerous documentaries; he has also illustrated more than 14 books, and has had 19 International art exhibitions. His work has been reproduced as limited edition prints, giclées, silk screens and etchings; all of which have become highly sought after collectable. Pro’s unique styles, and his exploration of new and expressive techniques, underpinned his work, and over a 47 year period, cemented him as one of Australia’s most colourful characters, and as one of its truly great artists.
Pro Hart’s Passing (1928 – 2006)
In December 2005, Pro Hart received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, a fatal and progressive muscle and nerve wasting condition. On Tuesday, 28 March 2006, surrounded by his family, Pro Hart passed away peacefully at his home in Broken Hill at the age of 77. Pro was given a State Funeral in honor and tribute to his life and his contributions to charity, community and the arts. In November 2006, David Hart Galleries presented a Pro Hart Tribute Exhibition, symbolising the final chapter in Pro’s Career. The Tribute Exhibition sold more than any other exhibition in his entire 47-year career, demonstrating both Australians’ love for his work, and the desire to collect the work of a truly gifted Australian art icon.
Pro Hart loved Australia, and Australia loved him. He will be forever missed!
Beginning his journey as a visual artist at the age of 16, David’s 35-year career has seen him become internationally recognised and highly collected. His works are represented in prominent private and corporate collections around Australia, and around the world, including former U.S President Donald Trump, Nicole Kidman, Lord Earl Spencer, as well as many Mayoral, Prime Ministerial, and Presidential collections.
David Hart was born in 1971 as the son of miner and artist, Pro Hart. Raised in the dusty outback-mining town of Broken Hill, NSW, Australia, David spent his early years submersed in arts and culture, whilst studying various techniques and mediums under the guidance of his late father. The two of them, at times, would paint side-by-side in one of the many art studio’s to be found on the family property. It was here that David was encouraged by his father to explore his own creative interests through exposure to painting, sculpting, enameling, casting and welding. However, it was after creating his first series of paintings at just sixteen years of age, that David really began his journey to becoming a full-time visual artist. Over a career that has now spanned more than 35 years, David has risen to become one of Australia’s most well-known and highly collected artists.
David’s work is not easily placed within the boundaries of a single style or genre. He’s an avid explorer, and his expression has always been underpinned by his passion to push the boundaries of mediums and new applications. David believes that experimentation has always been his greatest teacher, and it is through his discoveries, mistakes, and accidents that some of his greatest works have been created.
Regardless of the medium, or style, David sees them more as a vehicle for connecting his ideas to the canvas. Within the exploration and creation of any artwork, there is always a struggle, but there can be no birth without pain; it’s this battle between the idea and the medium that makes the final work so rewarding. David believes that allowing things to happen spontaneously or even by accident, has been one of the greatest keys to his creative process.
There is no doubt that one of David Hart’s greatest influences was his late father and art mentor, Pro Hart. David says that he has never officially had an art lesson, but more what he would describe as exposure to opportunity, techniques, and self-discovery. David has a firm belief that art is not something you can simply teach or learn. Art something that already exists within us, like a seed, or a door that is waiting to be unlocked. The only thing that can be taught is technique, and the most valuable thing to be learned, is commitment to experimentation and discovery. In David’s opinion, these are the keys to unlocking our creative potential. Influences are also an important part of our creative and the discovery process, but they should only be used to explore the boundaries of our own ideas.
Throughout his childhood and teens, David spent countless hours watching his father at work and observing his various techniques. Over the years, The two of them would often paint side-by-side in one of Pro’s many home studios. Often there were also opportunities to build sculptures, and even mess around with pottery and copper enameling. Pro never forced art upon David, and he never told him how things should be done. David says the greatest gift his father ever gave him was the opportunity to discover art for himself. Pro provided the environment for exposure to mediums and techniques; discovery was left up to David.
David believes influence must be turned into inspiration for personal discovery, and that experience and exposure must push us to develop and explore our own ideas and techniques. David believes the benefits of Pro’s influence and encouragement were greatly impacting on his art, but he has also benefited from exposure to other great artists as well; many of them he was fortunate to meet as a young boy in his family home, some of whom have now gone on to become Australian art icons.
David recalls that one of his first memories of being really impacted by art as a form of expression, was while watching a short black and white film about artist Jackson Pollock: “I still remember the day I walked into my family’s living room as a small child in the early 1970’s, and there was my father, in his paint covered shorts and flip flops; he had a super 8 camera on an old tripod and he was filming our black and white TV. There were no VCRs in those days, so Dad was filming with his Super eight camera to record a man on the screen who was painting outside his house on an old concrete slab. It was Jackson Pollock. I remember he had a cigarette hanging from his mouth that was dropping ash onto his painting while he worked. He was wearing paint splattered clothes and boots and was painting a big canvas with large tins of paint. He was painting straight from the can and dripping paint everywhere using sticks and brushes and didn’t seem to mind walking all over his painting as he worked. I’ll never forget being mesmerized as I stood in the middle of that room and watched him paint for the first time. I was only a young boy, but there was something about how he became part of his painting that greatly impacted me. The freedom of expression in what he was doing made a connection with me that has stayed until today. Up until that moment, art had just been for fun, but right there, in that living room, I knew I wanted to paint like he was painting; I wanted to experience that connection to the canvas just like he did. I still have that old Super 8 video footage, and every now and then I still watch it.”
Aside from human influence, David has also had the privilege of being born and raised in the outback-mining town of Broken Hill in western NSW, Australia. Its harshness and beauty have also been a distinctive influence in his life and growing up in the Australian outback has left him with lasting memories of vast landscapes and interesting characters. Although David looks to express new things as he learns more about different places, mediums, and techniques, his influences and roots will remain as the driving force behind who he is and what he creates. He will always paint from his soul, and will always stay true to his gifting, creating work that reflects his passion for exploring new ideas, as he pushes the boundaries of mediums, techniques, and colour.
David’s paintings are displayed in significant private collections throughout Europe, the United States of America, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, and other countries including:
The Lord Earl Spencer Collection
Governor of Bangkok Collection
Mayor of Kaosiung Collection
Mayor of Taipei Collection
Donald Trump Collection
Chairman of Formosa Plastic Group Collection
City of Kobe Collection
FIFA President, Jaoa Havelange Collection
Frederick Chiluba, President of Zambia Collection
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard
David’s other significant achievements include:
1989 – David has his first gallery representation at Ant Hill Gallery, Broken Hill, NSW. This marked the beginning of David’s first art sales and the beginning of his career as a visual artist.
1991 – David marries Christine Hunt and soon begins painting from his kitchen table in their first home. David’s first studio consisted of a 400 x 1200mm piece plywood board to paint on, a box of gouache paints, some brushes, a plastic pallet, a glass jar, and an old lamp. David painted at his kitchen table for around 3 – 4 years.
1992 – David and his wife Christine Hart open their first commercial art gallery called Hart Family Collection Gallery.
1992 – David starts having mobile exhibitions in regional cities and towns around NSW, Vic and SA.
1993 – David represented in various small art galleries around NSW and Vic.
1994 – David, his wife Christine, and his two children move to Brisbane QLD.
1995 – David is first represented in QLD by Montville Gallery.
1996 – David builds his first home, art gallery and studio, in Albany Creek, Brisbane.
1996 – David is represented by Pages Fine Art Gallery, Noosa, QLD.
1996 – David begins holding annual exhibitions with Sheraton and Hilton hotels in Brisbane.
1997 – The Brisbane Lord Mayor commissioned David to paint a series of city street scenes as gifts for Japanese diplomats.
1998 – Motorline BMW Brisbane commissioned David to paint a 4m x 2m flower mural, which led to his appointment as an ambassador for Motorline BMW.
1999 – David has his first solo exhibition in Queensland at Pages Fine Art Gallery in Noosa. This exhibition was also filmed by ABC TV and featured on “The Australian Story”.
1999 – Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) televised a documentary on the life of David Hart as part of the highly acclaimed “The Australian Story” series. The program was aired in Australia and overseas.
2000 – Queensland Paralympic Association commissioned David to paint the Opening Ceremony that was held at the Homebush Olympic Stadium. Titled “Share the Dream”, this painting was reproduced in 250 limited edition prints. These sold out within three months and raised over AUD$50,000 as part of a major fundraising project. One print sold at auction for AUD$2,500.
2001 – David moved his studio gallery from Albany Creek, Brisbane to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. In the first year of opening the gallery, David’s popularity saw so many sales that his prices had to be increased every couple of months to help slow down the demand on his work.
2002 – David had a solo exhibition at his gallery in Mooloolaba, and had people lined up to buy his paintings; 80% of the exhibition sold on opening night and more than ten works were also commissioned that night.
2003 – David opened a second David Hart Galleries location in Hastings Street, Noosa.
2004 – David was chosen to represent Australia and joined a group of artists chosen from the world art community to exhibit at the Florence Biennale. The Biennale is one of the art world’s most prestigious events. Participation is by nomination only, and artworks are then considered by an international jury before final approval to exhibit is granted.
2005 – After a trip to New York, David received a personal letter from Donald Trump telling David how much he loved his work. David was also approached by five different galleries throughout the United States of America wanting to represent his work.
2006 – David exhibited the Christ series at his Mooloolaba and Noosa galleries.
2006 – David authored the most comprehensive biography ever written on his late father, world renowned artist Pro Hart, published by Ark House Press in 2007.
2007 – David began painting a significant and important body of work based on the arrival of the first fleet, and the following 80 years of impact on Aboriginal Australians. The series would take over 14 years to complete and is known as Our Secret War.
2008 – The release of David’s range of products was an exciting step in his artistic journey. The David Hart Homewares Collection has been designed so that clients can appreciate art through functional objects and in everyday scenarios. The icon range consisted of placemats, coasters, 100% linen tea towels and a recipe journal which all featured David’s iconic dragonfly imagery. The David Hart Inspiration range of calendars, daily inspirations, journals, card sets, writing pads, books, travel journals, sketch books and prints showcased a stunning selection of David’s various styles and imagery.
2009 – David exhibited a sell-out exhibition in Rockhampton, QLD and was a feature artist at an exhibition held at Greythorne Galleries in Melbourne and Manyung Gallery in Mornington Peninsula. He was a feature artist in the 2010 Collectors Exhibition exhibiting alongside David Boyd, Robert Dickerson, Pro Hart and d’Arcy W. Doyle. David also launched his 2010 Calendar at his one-man “Private Collection” exhibition at Mooloolaba in July, and in August he was the feature artist of the Nudgee College exhibition in Brisbane.
2010 – “Metal & Canvas” was a collaboration between Porsche Brisbane and David Hart. David exhibited a stunning array of artworks alongside the impressive new 2010 Porsche Series. Hosted by the Porsche Centre Brisbane Showroom, this exceptional mix of automobiles and artworks set the scene for a sensational event.
2011 – Maxwell & Williams released a range of David Hart mugs which were distributed around the world and sold in many major department stores including Harrods in London, as well as House, Myer, and David Jones. This collaboration between Maxwell & Williams and David Hart continued to grow over several years as they worked closely together to expand the range into place mats, another two cup and mug ranges, and a range of platters.
2012 – David Hart, together with Norman’s wines, collaborated over 100 years of family heritage and skill to create the ultimate masterpiece, Hart Special Edition wines. These were released in May and are sold exclusively through Get Wines Direct.
2012 – David was selected by Telstra to paint a mural for the 2012 London Olympic Games to launch the Telstra Hero Message campaign. It was started at Customs House in Sydney with Olympic champions Cathy Freeman and Geoff Huegill helping David to lay down the first layers of paint using sports equipment. The artwork was then completed in David’s studio in QLD. At 6 meters long and nearly 3 meters high, the artwork was far too large to fit in the Australian Olympic Committee headquarters building. At a cost of over $10,000 in materials to create, the artwork was kindly donated back to the artist by Telstra; it was transported back to QLD and now hangs in David’s private studio.
2012 – David was asked by the Brisbane Lord Mayor to join him on his Trade Delegation Mission visiting Taipei, Kaohsiung, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong to build relationships with senior government officials for future business together. The mission was very successful and opened many opportunities to expand into the Asian market.
2012 – David’s Australia Mural was hung in QLD Parliament and officially accepted by Hon. Glen Elmes, Minister for Multicultural Affairs in November 2012. Mr Elmes said, “I’m pleased to see the painting hanging in Parliament because, apart from being a stunning piece of art, it represents a change away from how the settlement of Australia has been portrayed in the past.”
2013 – David set up an agency in Korea to represent his work. The launch was held at the Australian Embassy and was a huge success with massive media coverage. Dr Sang Min Woo, Korean Commissioner of Trade & Investment, made the opening remarks and welcomed David to Korea. Later in 2013 David held his first solo exhibition in Seoul, Korea at the Grand Hyatt, which was attended by many politicians, celebrities, and wealthy citizens. As a part of this significant event, well-known Baritone singer Jung Kyoung sang and performed an operama about David’s artworks. The feature of the evening was the collaboration between David and world-renowned fashion designer Lie Sang Bong. David painted a painting that was inspired by Mr Lie’s 2013 Paris collection, and Mr Lie designed and made a dress inspired by one of David’s floral works from the exhibition. David’s wife, Christine, wore the designer dress at the opening of this exclusive event.
2014 – David set up an agency in Singapore to represent his work. The Design Hub was the first agency to feature David’s work with many of his paintings selling at the opening launch.
2014 –David was selected by the QLD Government to represent QLD artists at the opening of the China Construction Bank in Brisbane during the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
2015 – David closed his Noosa Gallery and sold his Mooloolaba Gallery after 17 years of operating on the Sunshine coast, before moving briefly to the USA with his family.
2016 – David’s work was selected exclusively by a team of New York producers for the set of a reality TV show being filmed in Miami, USA. It is called Jones Beach and is about a couple who are getting married. David’s artwork was hung throughout their home and was featured in much of the show – the stars of the show even talk about how much they love David’s work on camera! The show was released in the US later that same year.
2016 –David was asked by a huge gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA to represent his work and was a featured artist in their winter and summer exhibitions. He was also included in their quarterly magazine and was promoted as “An Artist to Watch”.
2016 –David exhibited in art fairs in Hong Kong, New York and The Hamptons, USA.
2016 –David was asked by artist Jessica Le Clerc to be painted for Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize, The Archibald prize. The artwork became a top ten finalist and was hung in the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney before it went on tour to regional galleries around Australia.
2017 – David collaborated in a special promotion with The Lincoln Motor Company in Guangzhou, China. As a very special treat, Lincoln gave every purchaser of a motor vehicle an original David Hart painting. He also exhibited in private exhibitions at exclusive clubs throughout China.
2017 –David held a one-man exhibition of his work at his QLD home for his clients. Not only was the show attendance totally booked out, but the exhibition was a huge success.
2018 –David was one of 6 artists selected around the world to represent their continent in an art book for children called Art of the Continents. The other artists include world renowned artists Henri Matisse from Europe, Romero Britto from Latin America, Katsushika Hokusai from Japan, Alexander S. Calder from North America and Betty LaDuke from Africa.
2018 –David was the solo artist at an exhibition held at Versace, Surfers Paradise where half of the exhibition sold within the first hour of the launch.
2018 –David’s artworks went on permanent display throughout the lobby area of the Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise. With over 30 artworks on display at any one time, it is one of the largest permanent exhibitions of his work to date.
2019 – David completed the final artworks for the ‘Our Secret War’ series, the 50-piece curated historical exhibition also has an accompanying fully illustrated book. Our Secret War is based on the invasion of Australia by the British first fleet in 1788, and the following impact that invasion had on the land, its resources, and the displacement and maltreatment of Australia’s Aboriginal people. The exhibition has a strong focus on indigenous heroes and their formidable resilience and resistance against the British invasion of Australia. This confronting exhibition has attracted strong interest from galleries and museums around Australia and throughout Asia.
2019 –David set up an agency in China and has had many requests from exclusive organisations to exhibit his work.
2019 – Flipside Circus approached David about a collaboration involving performance art through physical theatre. Although still in its early stages on conceptualisation, the show will focus on David’s life and art, and in particular the story of Bogart – from his 8 Black Dog Series. Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) are very interested in the concept and have made a grant available for a team of creatives to put together the storyline and the performers needed to create the theatrical performance.
2019 – David had a solo exhibition at the Marriot Hotel in Surfers Paradise to raise funds for an organisation called Transformations. 10’s of $1,000’s was raised to help men and women with drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
2019 – Was the first year ever that David had constant commissions throughout the entire year.
2019 –The owner of the Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise commissioned David to paint the famous Orchid Avenue, with of course the inclusion of his hotel in the skyline. This painting was to be hung alongside a Pro Hart painting of the same scene that was painted some thirty years prior and didn’t have the Hilton Hotel in it.
2020 – What a year this was! When Covid-19 first hit Australian soil and we all started to go into lockdown, all the art galleries had to close, and one of our concerns was that art would stop selling altogether as usually luxury and investment items are the first things to stop when the economy suffers. As the galleries were all closed, we offered a special offering directly to our clients. Not only did David sell everything he had in stock, in a short 6-week sale period, he ended up selling 112 paintings as well as continued commissions for his artworks. The first twelve weeks of 2020 saw David sell the equivalent in sales to what he would normally sell in a one-year period.
2020 –The owner of the Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise commissioned David to paint a huge 2 x 2.5m painting in the style of Bogart – 8 Black Dogs, but instead of dogs hidden throughout the painting, he requested 12 red hearts; the painting was named Hart’s Hearts and now hangs in the lobby of the hotel at the entrance of an extraordinary “Real Human Anatomy Exhibition”. It’s the only exhibition of its kind in Australia.
2021 – David purchased a 2.5-acre property at Sheldon, Brisbane, QLD and began construction on his new private art studio, living gallery, and guest house accommodation. The property was opened to clients in December of 2021 with an exhibition of new work that sold out in two days.
2022 – David completed a full rebranding and a rebuild of his website.
2022 – David launched a new range to his Art with Hart brand in the form of paint and sip art experiences, team building experiences, and art and accommodation experiences; please see the website for further information on these exclusive offerings.
2022 – David opened a David Hart Gallery at the Hilton Surfers Paradise, Hotel & Towers.
2023 – David opened a David Hart Gallery at Marina Mirage, Main Beach.