Robert Emerson Curtis (1899 - 1996)
Original lithograph of Foggy Morning, from the best series of images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge began in December, 1926. The foundations, which are 12 metres deep, are set in sandstone, anchoring tunnels are 36 metres long and dug into rock at each end. Construction of the arch began in November, 1929 and was built in halves with steel cable restraints initially supporting each side. The arch spans 503 metres and supports the weight of the bridge deck, with hinges at either end bearing the bridge’s full weight and spreading the load to the foundations. By October, 1930, the two arch halves had met and work then began on the deck which is 59 metres above sea level. The total cost of the Bridge was approximately 6.25 million Australian pounds ($A13.5 million).
The Bridge was officially opened on 19 March 1932.
Artist: Robert Emerson Curtis (1898-1996)
Curtis was a painter, illustrator and cartoonist, born in Croydon, England, on 4 October 1898, educated in Chile (1909-12) and at Farnham Grammar School, England (1912-14). His family came to Australia in 1914 and he worked on their farm in Queensland until 1919. He he moved to Brisbane where his first job was as an illustrator with a Brisbane department store. In 1922 Curtis sailed to the USA with his friend, the pioneer filmmaker, Charles Chauvel. There he studied at the Art Institutes of San Francisco and Chicago and undertook industrial commissions as a freelance commercial artist. While in Chicago, Curtis worked as an architectural draftsman for the town planner of San Francisco Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912), after the great fire of 1871 led to intense skyscraper rebuilding in the ’80s and ’90s. Curtis returned to Sydney in 1928 and began recording the erection of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and produced a series of lithographs.
Robert Emerson Curtis (1898-1996)
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