Baldessin Press Studio Residency

Bluestone studio at St Andrews built by George Baldessin in 1971


The Baldessin Press Studio Residency is generously supported by artist Rick Amor. It is named in honour of legendary artist printmaker and sculptor George Baldessin (1939–78), who built a bluestone studio at St Andrews in 1971.

What does a Baldessin Press Studio Residency offer?

The Baldessin Press Studio Residency gives one fellow working in any field the opportunity to negotiate a residency, which may be taken over the year, or in one block, depending on the project and the recipient’s research plans. The offer may include accommodation, printmaking tuition, living expenses, materials or editioning. The recipient will also have the opportunity to participate in a 'Bon a Tirer' event during the year to present their project to the Library, public, partners and other supporters.

Eligibility to apply and selection process

The residency is open to any recipient of a State Library Victoria or partnered fellowship. The application and selection process will commence once the announcements of Fellowship recipients for 2015–16 have been made.

About George Baldessin & the Baldessin Press Studio

George Baldessin was a charismatic figure in the history of Australian art, especially in Melbourne in the 1970s, until his tragic accidental death in 1978 at the age of 39. He had a brilliant career as a sculptor and printmaker, and was already considered an important figure in the history of Australian art in the 1970s.

He won many prizes and his work is in most major private and public collections in Australia and many overseas. Perhaps his best-known and most popular sculpture is the iconic pears, The final pear version, at the entrance to the Australian National Gallery in Canberra.

In 1975 he represented Australia in the Sao Paulo Biennale before living and working in Paris until his return to St Andrews in 1977.

George is still revered by his former RMIT students and fellow artists, and fondly remembered as the unofficial mentor to several generations of artists. Stories of his studio, his generosity and encouragement to others’ creativity still abound amongst his friends and acquaintances today.

The bluestone Baldessin Press Studio was handbuilt by George and Tess Baldessin, and the three teenage Hails brothers, Rob, Doug and Don. It is almost entirely made of recycled materials, most of which came from demolished 19th-century buildings in Melbourne. It contains all of George’s studio equipment, including the large press which he modelled himself with the help of Neil Jeffrey (Enjay Presses).

In 2001 Tess Baldessin returned to St Andrews to reclaim the very run-down studio and reconstitute it as The Baldessin Press. It operates in George’s memory, so that artists may continue to create in this special place, thus perpetuating the generous spirit of George.