After a short career in finance, which his father encouraged, Philip became a gallery assistant at the Grand Central Gallery in Brisbane in the late 1960s under the tutelage of its owner Keith Moore.
Keith’s philosophy was to conduct the gallery operations as a trading business, adhering to the strict principles that govern successful businesses. Coupled with this was an enthusiastic commitment to hard work and customer service. These were career development experiences which deeply impressed Philip and continue to shape his own business practices today. He also began collecting by placing selected works on lay-by until he could afford to pay them off.
Following the closure of the Johnstone Gallery in 1972, one of Australia’s most important galleries during the 1950s and 1960s which discovered and promoted artists such as Charles Blackman, Ray Crooke, Lawrence Daws and Margaret Olley, Philip realised that a whole generation of Australia’s greatest artists were left without representation. Having long dreamed of opening his own gallery, Philip took the plunge and, with borrowed money, opened his gallery in rented premises in down-at-heel Fortitude Valley in July 1974. This laid the foundation for building Australia’s leading art dealership over the last 40 years, representing, exhibiting or dealing the works of the nation’s most significant artists from the past and the present.
Significantly, this includes Charles Blackman, Ray Crooke, Lawrence Daws, Robert Dickerson, Ian Fairweather, Michael Kmit, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, William Robinson, Jeffrey Smart, Brett Whitely, Fred Williams, and many more. Through his entrepreneurship and eagle-eyed judgement, the reputations and career outcomes of innumerable artists have been enhanced.
Philip’s widely acknowledged, extensive and varied philanthropy includes generous and unstinting financial support for numerous arts organisations and, notably, the regular gifting of significant art works to Australia’s leading galleries. His service to the community is equally extensive and impressive, including distinguished service to the Boards of Opera Australia and the National Gallery of Australia.
Trust, in what remains an unregulated business, is a cornerstone of Philip’s continuing success throughout the country. He is especially proud of having built the leading business of its kind in Australia while remaining firmly based in Brisbane.
People come to the Philip Bacon Gallery from all over the country because they trust the brand and they trust the person behind the brand. This has made Philip Bacon undoubtedly Australia’s most respected art dealer.