James Vandeleur Wigley

Jim Wigley- Artist 1917 -1999.

Portrait of my father made on my iPad in 2012 (c)

Copyright: Attribution-NonCommercial and NoDerivs Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative WorksAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works

[Early drawings here.]

[Early paintings here]

Biography (DRAFT 1)


Jim Wigley. 1981 (Photo by Peter Mayoh)

For a general bibliography refer to Wikipedia reference

Adelaide period.

Born Adelaide, Australia May 1917

Pulteney Grammar-Adelaide, SA- his school mate is Ronald Berndt

Drawing of RB by JVW-check

Art school Adelaide. Hans Heysen Scholarship. Family home West Croydon SA.

Trip with R.M Berndt to Murray Bridge 1939. Drawing studies of local people and environs.

Trip to Daly River NT to join  Catherine and Ronald Berndt's ( time?). Pastel drawings on brown wrapping paper.

Met and married Molly Burden (student at same Art school in Adelaide). The two moved to Warrandyte, Victoria, followed by Jim's mother and brother.

World War II. Warrandyte period 1941-1947

Jim enlisted in the Army (Ringwood VIC) 1941 (discharged 1943). Built wattle and daub hut on land purchased by Molly, located off Kangaroo Ground road, Warrandyte. The building of 2 houses ( stone and timber with "flat roofs and butterfly roof" designed by Architect Fritz Janeba for Mrs and Mr J Wigley [doc.1944]) commenced during war period and was mostly completed by 1947. Son, James Julian born 1943. Jim applies for official war artist status. The army file entitled 'Application for appt as War artist' contains a brief note: Wigley, James 23 S Australian (now in Victoria) Illustrator Cartoonist . Name put forward by Mr L McCubbin, who writes: "Brilliant young artist who might be used as effectively as Will Dyson was in last war".

Warrandyte art scene. 1940's. Danila Vassilieff settles in Warrandyte. Befriends Jim and Molly. Danila calls Julian, Jay, because he's like a jay bird-always chattering. Artist Leonard French remembered good parties in the downstairs studio of the stone house.

Jim went to National Gallery art School with Yosel Bergner for a period prior to travelling overseas. They traveled overseas together at the end of 1947. A Joint exhibition was held in Paris in November 1949 (Rebels and Precursors).

Sketch book drawing from UK stay:

Note on sketch page refers to Bolo street? Documentation welcomed!


The " fine sculpture of the head and shoulders of the young Australian Soldier, by Sapper R. Ewers" is no other than Jim Wigley- rather ironic. ( Refer also: Salt magazine- Australian Army journal. March 1943). An exhibition of pictures and other works by Australian servicemen was held in Melbourne and considered the "first of its kind in Australia-if not the Empire." See also the Australian War Memorial for image of casting of bronze sculpture by typing in search field "Gunner James Wigley". The bronze was completed in the year 2000.

1950's-60's:Returns to Australia. Separates from Molly.Molly sells Warrandyte and moves to Melbourne with Jay. Divorce in early1954? . Jim marries Eugenie Knox(1960?), lives in Eltham (Victoria) Jasmine and Christabel born.


Jim has caravan on Strelley station. Assists school with the making of printed books for use by students.

Strelley Station school books illustrated and printed by Jim circa 1976-79. See here


Work in Progress.

Bruce Grant's article on Jim's contribution to Australian Art.

© 2016 Wigley.
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