Born in Melbourne in 1924, Clifton Pugh was a painter of figures, landscapes & portraits in oil, acrylic & watercolour and also a stage designer.
He went to school at Ivanhoe Grammar School and joined the AIF in 1943, serving in Papua New Guinea and Japan.
From 1948 to 1950 he studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School under Sir William Dargie.
In 1971 he became chairman of the Australian Labour Party’s Art Advisory committee and helped formulate ALP policy for the arts and construction of the Australia Council.
Pugh visited Israel as a Sam Cohen Memorial Foundation Fellow in 1972 and undertook study tours to the UK, Europe and China.
He held numerous exhibitions in Australia and overseas and a major retrospective of his work was held at the Commonwealth Institute in London in 1970, and a touring retrospective at all Victorian regional galleries in 1973.
Pugh participated in many group and invitation exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, USA & Europe and won several awards, including: the Archibald Prize in 1965, 1971 & 1972; the Crouch Prize 1960; the Maude Vizard-Wholohan Prize in 1958; the Aubrey Gibson Prize in 1954; the Bendigo Art Prize in 1958; Caltex Prize in 1976; and the Albury/Woodonga Prize in 1976.
Clifton Pugh was was awarded the Order of Australia in 1985.
He was also commissioned to produce films, book covers, stage and costume designs and publications including The Legend: Leda and the Emu, Pamela Blashki 1987.
His work is represented at the Australian National Gallery, State Art Galleries in South Australia., Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, as well as regional galleries in Victoria and Newcastle, university collections in Oxford, London, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, and the collections of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Russian Ballet, National Gallery of Malaysia, and private collections throughout the world.
Clifton Pugh died in 1990.