Arabesque 1978

Alternate title: Curvilinear
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 203.6 x 78.6
signed, dated and titled [on reverse, in fibre-tipped pen: as ‘Arabesque’ 1978; with earlier title ‘Curvilinear’ cancelled out]
Monash University collection [1991-7]

Shown in both Arkley’s solo ‘doors’ exhibitions (1979, 1980) as Curvilinear, this work was apparently inscribed with its present title later (possibly in 1988). The inscribed date is 1978.

Formerly in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, this canvas was purchased for the Monash collection at the Sotheby’s auction of works from the MCA in June 1991. It should be distinguished from both Arabesque 1979 [Coloured Paisley] and Arabesque 1979 [Floral].

The curvilinear patterning is foreshadowed in several of Arkley’s ‘white’ drawings: see e.g. Untitled [A50] (c.1974-76) [W/P] and Untitled [A65] (c.1974-76) [W/P].


  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane
  • auctioned by Sotheby’s, Melb., 16 June 1991 (MCA sale), lot 47 (as Arabesque 1979; est.$2-3,000; sold for $2,200 inc.buyer’s premium): purchased for Monash


  • HA Tolarno 5/79, cat.12 (as Curvilinear)
  • HA Coventry 3/80, cat.7 (as Curvilinear)
  • Australian Perspecta, AGNSW 1981, as part of Untitled [Installation] (1981) [3/M]
  • Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, 1/88 (1968-1988 Selected Works): as Arabesque 1978 (as in MCA coll.);
  • George Paton Gallery, Univ.of Melbourne, 8/88 (‘Suburbanism’), cat.1: as Arabesque 1978 (MCA coll.)
  • Queensland Art Gallery 1990 (‘Art of the 1970s’)
  • HA Monash 1991, cat.14: as Curvilinear 1978
  • Monash Uni. 11/94 (‘Tableaux: works from the Monash Uni.coll.’), cat.2
  • HA TarraWarra 12/15-2/16


  • Taylor, Art + Text #1, 1981, p.27 (B&W ill.)
  • Engberg, ‘Suburbanism’ 1988 (, 3-4 (B&W ill.: as Arabesque 1978)
  • Spray 33 (as Curvilinear 1979)