Previous Exhibition Event from RED HILL GALLERY

‘Setting The Scene For 100 YEARS OF JOHN RIGBY’

Exhibition Date; August 6 – 22, 2021

‘It Takes Two’

John Rigby

Art & Life

John Thomas Rigby produced fine and commercial art for over 70 years with inspiration from a wide range of sources. We may expect a certain look in the works of an artist. By contrast, the works have varied from subject to subject and period to period. His art has been complimented for a complete mastery of chromatics in their most intense registers.

John Rigby’s story is interwoven with the cultural history of south-east Queensland, particularly that of Brisbane. As a painter, his works rank among the best names in Australian art. Rigby the artist, the teacher and art administrator made an immense contribution to the visual arts and its services.

For those interested in acquiring examples of the late artist’s paintings, the Rigby family is making available for sale some of the artwork from their private collections. Viewings can be arranged by appointment. Please visit this sales link to Art Sales

The Fine Art & Commercial Work of John Rigby

Rigby in his studio 2003

Presented by
the John Rigby Family

john rigby art

John Rigby Art

A Retrospective


The artist John Thomas Rigby

‘Art to me should give pleasure – it should also move us.’

‘All art is abstract… Many decisions I make in a painting are intuitive.’

The Rigby Family Portraits

John, Margaret, Mark, Renée, Tony

While John Rigby painted many individuals he asked to pose or was commissioned to paint, he was often inspired to paint and draw Margaret beginning in 1952, two years before their marriage, and ending 60 years later with a drawing produced just months before his passing in 2012. Most family portraits have been exhibited, some multiple times and most have been retained by the family. Rigby also produced many self-portraits, a number of which were hung in the Archibald Prize. And, of course, his children were inspiration for some others.

john rigby art

John Rigby Family


From the artist’s collection

‘Portrait painting sorts people out.’

Artists who show ‘the dog beneath the skin, warts and all.’

A Senior Figure in Australian Art

A remarkable career – numerous solo & group exhibitions in Australia & overseas, winning and being a finalist in dozens of major prizes and represented in many private, corporate and public collections.

john rigby art

A Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery 1969-1987.
Officer-in-Charge of Fine Art, Queensland College of Art 1974-1984.
Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University 1994.
Honorary Membership, Royal Queensland Art Society 2001.
Companion, Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences 2003.

john rigby art

John Rigby Art

Awards & Finalists


From galleries & art prizes

From Bush Tracks to Brisbane – Commercial Arts

Brisbane in the late 1930’s –
Central Technical College art course, Victor Day Signwriters, then National Advertising as a Commercial Artist until early 1942.
Served during World War II – Maps, Topography & Cartoons.
A post-war cartoonist for The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 1946 – 1947.
Studied Art at East Sydney Technical College, 1948 – 1950.
Early 1950s back to Commercial Art – Campbell Advertising then Noble-Bartlett Advertising.
John Rigby operated the ‘Rigby Studio’ employing staff from the mid 1960’s to 1972.

john rigby art

Commercial Art

Posters, Advertising & Cartoons


From WWII to modern commercial advertising

Beautiful Queensland – An Artist in the Landscape

John Rigby’s records of untouched Queensland & regional islands –

Paintings that have so much life.

Queensland offered so much variety to Rigby ranging from Brisbane cityscapes to outback scenes and life, to his beloved islands the full length of the state from North Stradbroke Island to Thursday Island.

john rigby art


A Record of What Used to Be

Monumental Statements

Nature compositions

‘I like to go into the environment and be surrounded by it. So many landscapes have disappeared in my lifetime.’

Oblivious to the rain and hail pelting down, ‘People must have thought I was mad.’

The Diversity of Rigby’s Art

I’ve been privileged to have been surrounded by Dad’s art all of my life. It really was like growing up in an art gallery with an amazing variety of paintings and drawings – as if by many artists. Except for one thing – they were all from the creative mind and hands of one artist – John Rigby. Mark Rigby

Art Galleries

An Overview of John Rigby’s Work

‘He never lost the common touch.’
‘I want my art to be like a song.’
‘The painter should speak through his work.’


A Prominent Visual Artist of the Time

Red Hill Gallery Exhibition from
Feb 11 2022 – Feb 25 2022

Brisbane River
c. early 1990s
oil on canvas
91 x 112 cm; frame 102 x 122.3 x 4 cm.
John Rigby painted scenes around the Brisbane River many times during his life and the first such painting he sold was in an exhibition in 1941 when he was 18.


Rice Paddies, Bali
oil on canvas
76 x 106.7 cm; framed, 84.1 x 114.5 x 4.3 cm.
During 1997, John Rigby and his wife Margaret visited parts of Bali and this is one of the works created from that trip.

Life on Fafa Island
oil on canvas
50.5 x 61.5 cm; framed, 67.6 x 78 x 6.2 cm.
During 1989, John Rigby and his wife Margaret (pictured in this painting) travelled to the Cook Islands, Samoa (called Western Samoa at the time), American Samoa and Tonga.
Rigby painted this work on Fafa Island in the Kingdom of Tonga. The island was hit by a tsunami from the nearby major volcanic eruption in mid-January 2022 and is now covered in volcanic ash.

RQAS Gallery Event

Nov 9 2022 – Nov 27 2022

John Rigby’s Lifetime of Art
at RQAS Petrie Terrace Gallery

Previous Gallery Event from
Jul 24 2023 – Aug 29 2023

John Rigby Art

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John Rigby: Art and Life

john rigby art

Art & Life Book

john rigby art

Art & Life Book

Art is Life