The Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Heide Museum of Modern Art are delighted to present ‘O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith: Making Modernism’ in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe USA. This ground-breaking exhibition showcases the iconic art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.
The paintings of these three artists represent distinct modernist visions that express the identity and culture of their respective nations. The landscape and a sense of place were a tremendous source of inspiration for each of them.
While O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed highly individualised styles, the conceptual underpinnings of their work, their shared themes and their approaches to the portrayal of modern life underscore the broader story of how modernism evolved around the world.
Preston and Cossington Smith, like O’Keeffe in America, have long been recognised for their central role in the development of modern art in Australia. The three artists are connected by their choice of subject, their experimentation with light, colour and form and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world.
The exhibition, bringing a major body of O’Keeffe’s work to Australia for the first time draws together around thirty masterpieces by each artist from the breadth of their careers, with major paintings from Preston and Cossington Smith on loan from public and private collections across Australia. Considering the similarities and distinctions in their art will bring a deeper understanding about modernism’s dispersal and reinvention as it developed beyond the metropolitan wellspring of Europe.
‘Making Modernism’ is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Gordon Darling Foundation.