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Ludwik Dutkiewicz (1921-2008) 

MSS 0259

Biographical note

Ludwik Dutkiewicz was born in Stara Sol, outside Lwow, Poland, in 1921. After traumatic experiences during the war, throughout which time he was protected by an older brother, Wladyslaw, he found his way to a Displaced Persons’ camp in Bavaria, where he stayed for four years, working in a touring theatrical troupe and in administration.

He migrated to Australia in 1949 and settled in Adelaide. In 1951 he held a joint exhibition with Wladyslaw at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts (RSASA), after which he was elected Fellow. In 1953 he was awarded the Cornell Prize at the Contemporary Art Society of South Australia (CASSA) and won it again in 1954. He was recognized as one of several of South Australia’s most progressive artists of the era, who were featured in the film Painting 1950-1955 South Australia. He exhibited with a selected CASSA group in London in 1954, and was a member of the Adelaide Group, which showed work in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne until 1957. He was Vice-President or committee member of the CASSA from 1954-62, and lectured for several years at the South Australian School of Art.

Ludwik arrived in Australia as an expressionist painter but soon became a committed abstractionist. At that time there was almost no abstract art here, and certainly none in Adelaide: indeed, he and his brother pioneered that territory in South Australia. The brothers were attracted to this area as a reaction against the kind of art promulgated by the Nazis in Western Europe and Stalinists in the Eastern Block. They also believed fine art should be imaginative and should free itself of tired and clichéd, representational forms; and that it had evolved in modern times to expand beyond illustration of people and their environment.

Ludwik joined the staff of the Botanic Gardens on 19 February 1953 as a botanical illustrator. His work in this field was published in many journals and books, and has received international recognition. During his final years in the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium he concentrated on line drawings and his work features extensively in the early volumes of the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, The Flora of Central Australia (1981), The Flora of South Australia by J. P. Jessop and H. Toelken (1986) and, in his year of retirement, Flowering Plants in Australia by B. Morley and H. Toelken (1983). He was also included in the 6th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration, Pittsburgh (1988). There are some 1500 of his illustrations in the Gardens’ archive.

From 1964, Ludwik shifted much of his creative energy into film. In a partnership with scriptwriter/photographer Ian Davidson he directed Transfiguration, which featured the music of Anton Bruckner and was shown in the Sixth Adelaide Film Festival; it received an AFI award for Best Black and White Photography and is in the collection of the Museum Of Modern Art in New York. He made two other films in the mid-late 1960s with Davidson: ‘Reflections’ and ‘Time in Summer’, the latter a feature film that was selected for the Berlin Film Festival.

From Ludwik Dutkiewicz: Adventures in Art / Adam Dutkiewicz (Adelaide: Moon Arrow Press, 2009)

These papers were donated in September 2014 by Adam Dutkiewicz, the son of Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz, in September 2014, along with the typescript: “Tales from Corytella” / Flexmore Hudson. 1987. Adapted by Adam Dutkiewicz. Copyright Adam Dutkiewicz, WAV Publications … which has been catalogued for the Rare Books Collection.



Typescript and MS biographical details

Ms and typed transcript of an interview with Josh Adderton, Year 12 student at Marryatville High School, with introductory letter


  • Ms list of exhibitions 1986-88 (for Max)
  • Exhibition leaflet: Five Polish Artists in Adelaide (Festival Centre, April-May 1986) Lidia Groblicka, J.S. Ostoja-Kotkowski, Ludwik Dutkiewicz, Brunon Kozlowski, Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz.
  • Leaflet and invitation to opening for ‘The Art of Ludwik Dutkiewicz” Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, April 1987
  • Invitation to opening: ‘Ludwik Dutkiewicz” – The Dangerfield Collection of Paintings and Quentin Jacobsen – Retrospective …’. Flinders University Art Museum, June 1988
  • Invitation to private view of ‘Paintings by the Atoll Group, Terry Clune Galleries, Kings Cross, May [no year]
  • Letter from Adelaide University Union January 1989 inviting Ludwik Dutkiewicz to exhibit

Film: Time in Summer (1968)
Director: Ludwik Dutkiewicz; Writer: Ian Davidson; Stars: Christina O'Brien, Peter Ross, Rory Hume

  • Plan of film and editing script under original title ‘Diptych’

Hand made card, white paint and crayon on black card

Typescript: first line ‘It is mid summer – ‘ 1 p.


  • Letter from President of the Russian Community Centre, Norwood, August 1988, thanking Ludwik for making and donating props and costumes for their “1000 Years” concert
  • Letter from ‘Jan’ 18/1/1989



  • German Zehn Reichsmark banknote ca 1929
  • 3 small Chinese notes, 2 headed ‘Zhongguo Renmin Yinhand’

Cheryl Hoskin
November 2020


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