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Cedric Raymond Emanuel

New Zealander, 1906 - 1995

Cedric Raymond Emanuel was born on the first of July 1906 in Gisborne, New Zealand. Although it is said that his parents had emigrated to New Zealand from England twenty years earlier, his great grandfather, John Emanuel, a dentist, had migrated to Sydney in 1842.

At the age of four he moved to Sydney, New South Wales with his parents. He attended Abbotsholme Primary School in Killara, a suburb of Sydney and later at Bondi Public School which he left at fourteen. In 1920 he spent time in the "militia". Whilst a youth he became very proficient at drawing objects at short notice. While still at school he started studying art at the Royal Art Society under Dattilo Rubbo (1870-1955) and Julian Ashton (1851-1942). He learned etching from Sydney Long (1871 - 1955). In 1925 he commenced working as a commercial (advertising) artist at the State Studios (working for the first year on trial and without pay) and in his spare time continued sketching, painting and etching. His first exhibition held in 1938 was very successful. In the same year he won the prize for etching in the NSW Sesquicentenary Art Competition.
Throughout most of his life he was a regular swimmer and surfer. He was a member of the Bondi Surf Life Saving Club and was a patrol captain on Black Sunday, 6th February 1938. He also boxed (he was an instructor), wrestled and played football. He won the 1929 NSW State Amateur Middleweight Wrestling Championship, beating Jack Murray. Jack Murray was later to become famous as 'Gelignite Jack' from his antics in the Redex Around Australia motor trials. Cedric Emanuel retired early from serious competitive sport out of concern for his hands.

During the Second World War he served as an officer with the RAAF. A part of his service was in New Guinea where he was an unofficial war artist. His Wing Commander noted that "This officer has given splendid service and is fully capable."

He spent most of his life working as a freelance artist. His main focus was sketches in watercolour or ink depicting various aspects of Australia, many of which appeared in books. His work was popularised with such items as cards, scenic folios, calendars and wrapping paper. Apart from private collectors, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Victoria have acquired his works. In the 1970s he visited the UK and Europe. On Australia Day 1981 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to art.

In 1931 he married Bella Oppenheim, known affectionately as Billie. They had two children, Janese and David Morris. David represented both NSW and Australia in rugby. Cedric was upset by the sudden death of Bella in 1987.

Cedric Emanuel was described as a man of energy. He had many friends, enjoyed the company of his grandchildren, and never lost his passion for art.

Cedric Emanuel died, aged 88, in Sydney on the 28th February 1995, the day before a major collection of his works, Retrospectives went on display at the Jewish Museum in Darlinghurst. "No artist throughout Australia's history could have drawn and painted as many scenes of yesteryear, and of buildings and locations that are national heritage icons, than Cedric." said the then Governor of NSW, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair at the opening. Anon. Emanuel Place in the Canberra suburb of Conder commemorates his name.