Claude Pannka

Claude Pannka was a visual artist and Aboriginal painter born in the year 1928. Claude was among the Aboriginal painters of Central Australian Landscape. He hailed from the Arunta Tribe. This man was adjudged one of the best students of Albert Namatjira, who taught him how to paint.

Claude Pannka was also the original watercolour artist whose vibrant and bright colours were easily exclusive. His paintings were exceptional and revealed the work of a professional artist. This artist introduced watercolour to his artwork in the mid-twentieth century, when he designed a framed watercolour on paper.

From 1928 to 1972, Claude was one of the Aboriginal of Hermannsburg School. He was popular for his appreciation of down-to-earth tones and compositions such as a gum tree to a side painting. This particular painting showed a gum tree off to the left side, even as a purple mountain can be seen in the middle.

It was during the visit of Battarbee Rex to Hermannsburge in 1934 that Claude Pannka developed an interest in painting. As of 1950, Claude had become a full-time painter, who had turned out to be a very popular artist. He taught his daughter Gloria Pannka how to paint with watercolours at a tender age. Gloria kept painting in the style of watercolour landscapes that epitomised the tradition of Hermannsburg School.

As a matter of fact, Claude Pannka’s style of painting followed the familial spirit of Namatjira, where colours shift fast and merge continuously with another colour to form visual tone before the eyes. In the mid-20th century, with the popularity and rise to recognition of Albert Namatjira who happened to be the father of Claude Pannka, watercolour painting and a cool, apparently descriptive approach to landscape turned out to be the normal way of portraying the centre.

The brothers Claude Pannka (or Panka) (1928-72), Nelson (1935–71) and Ivan (born 1943) were the sons of Anthapa and Sandra (nee Pannka) Emitja. Claude’s surname appears as Emitja on certain documents, e.g. the Northern Territory Nominal Roll. They were of the Kemarre subsection and Loritja language group. 

Claude married Rosina, who was the daughter of Albert Namatjira and a woman called Selma. Their daughter Gloria became an artist continuing the Hermannsburg watercolour school. The Pannka brothers originated from Tempe Downs south of Hermannsburg and were Loritja. The Loritja, south of Hermannsburg, and Western Arrernte shared some common ceremonial sites and thus had more contact together than with some other groups. Intermarriage was common.

Claude Pannka was painting seriously by 1950, after painting spasmodically from 1945. As a child he learned to draw in the Mission schoolroom. He painted seriously until around the late 1960s.

Claude Pannka died in the year 1972.


Ghost Gums - MacDonnell Ranges
Claude Pannka
  • $1,150.00