Established in 1918, the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society enjoys the distinction of being one of Australia’s oldest arts organizations and occupies a unique position in Australian art, both past and present. Many distinguished artists have been members of the group and contributed to its colourful 93 year history.

The Society has presented annual exhibitions of members’ works in Melbourne since 1919 and maintains a strong commitment to the traditions of realist and impressionist painting.


In 1918, a group of prominent Melbourne artists, at odds with the art establishment, and forthright in their beliefs, demonstrated their convictions by founding the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society, while meeting together in a studio in Hardware Chambers, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. The Society was formed for the purpose of exhibiting annually as a group.

There are not many groups of independent painters in Australia or elsewhere, which survive their initial exhibition for more that a few years. Now in its 92nd year, the TMPS continues to honour the foresight of its illustrious founders, as an enduring forum for the promotion of scholarly application to depictive, representational painting, with particular regard for the visual effects of natural appearances.

Events surrounding the turbulent origins of what was then a radical group captured the attention of media and public alike. Acknowledging a debt to Max Meldrum’s school of tonal realism, TMPS Founding Secretary A.M.E. Bale stated

“We desire nothing but sincerity and a humble study of nature, from which alone all art, whether decorative or realistic, draws any enduring life.”

Today that raison d'ĂȘtre holds true. The TMPS continues as an exhibiting body of professional artists, each of whom takes pride in honouring the society’s ethos, its unique spirit, and the privilege in sharing in its wonderful lineage and the standards set by past members many being names now legendary in the history of Australian art.

Membership is by invitation. Current TMPS members bring exemplary standards to their painting, and to their teaching and judging responsibilities and aim to promote and consolidate the standards of traditional art in Australia, and also to encourage fellowship amongst painters in the community.

The Society also maintains a dedicated commitment to the A.M.E. Bale Travelling Scholarship - Australia's premier award for traditional painting.


Alice Bale, Edith Downing, Polly Hurry, A.E. Newbury, Isobel Tweddle, George Colville, Rose A. Walker, William Frater, Richard McCann, Carl Hampel, Mrs H. M. Gulliver, Jas Stuart Anderson, Jo Sweatman. Alexander Colquhoun, Elsie Barlow, Bernice Edwell, Ruth Sutherland, Miss C. E James, Clara Southern, Bertha Merfield.


Rupert Bunny, Victor Cobb, Percy Leason, Arnold Shore, John Farmer, Malcolm Warner, E. Kimpton, Arthur Markham, Alan Martin, George Bell, Alexander Colquhoun, John Rowell, Max Meldrum, William Rowell, Margery Withers, John Loxton, Percy Watson, Francis Roy Thompson, Alfred Coleman, John Borrack, Sir William Dargie, David Moore, Shirley Bourne, Margaret Cromb, Dorothy Whitehead Griffiths, Marjorie Martin, David Newbury, Gordon Speary, Patricia Moran, Elizabeth Colquhoun, Colin Colahan, James Quinn, Harley Griffiths, Reshid Bey, Alan Gallagher, Edgar Finley, Ramon Horsfield, A.W. Harding, Clarice Beckett, August Cornehls, Sir John Longstaff, Rollo Thompson, Alma Figuerola, Ernest Buckmaster, John Munro, Edwin Doutch, Ron Crawford, Sybil Craig, Rex Bramleigh, John Hennessey, Max Casey, Peter Glass, June Hobart, Douglas Miller, Audrey Snell, Graham Moore, Judith Perrey.