Lot 12: Angry Penguins #8 (1945)
August 28, 2016
Adelaide, AustraliaLive Auction
[Angry Penguins #8] HARRIS, Max and John REED (editors): Angry Penguins. 1945 [cover title].
Melbourne, Reed and Harris, 1945. Quarto, [i] (contents printed inside front cover), 184,  (text on the rear cover) pages with illustrations plus 8 pages of plates (including a 4-page supplement on Arthur Boyd). Wrappers (with a two-colour pictorial front cover by Albert Tucker) lightly cracked near the spine, with a few minute chips to the edges; poor-quality text paper uniformly discoloured; essentially a fine copy of a fragile production.
The eighth (and penultimate) issue, with 'a cover illustration by Albert Tucker depicting a returned digger cast like a broken doll among the refuse of society' (Richard Haese: 'Rebels and Precursors'). No issue of 'Angry Penguins' may be considered common; although 900 copies of the notorious Ern Malley number - the sixth - were printed and sold, there were only 450 copies of Number 5, and overall the magazine failed to break even. According to Tregenza ('Australian Little Magazines, 1923-1954'), perhaps the most important legacy of the journal, which 'in issue after issue lavishly reproduced individual paintings' by the likes of Nolan, Tucker, Boyd, Counihan, and Perceval, 'artists who were then in the process of founding the Australian renascence in art, [was the way in which it] played an incalculable, but assuredly important role in creating an Australian taste for the new styles and techniques'.