Bridge from North Shore

Margaret Preston is best known for the striking paintings and woodcut prints that she produced from the 1920s until the 1950s. Bridge from North Shore is a bold and decorative work and a fine example of the artist’s style during this period. Like the floral still-lifes the artist produced at this time, many details of…

Church interior

Church interior depicts Grace Cossington Smith’s family place of worship, St James’s Anglican Church in Turramurra, Sydney. The painting alludes to the impact of the Second World War on the home front by the absence of men of enlistment age in the congregation. Church interior exhibits the pure, singing quality of her finest paintings and…

Aboriginal still life

Margaret Preston returned to Australia from Europe in 1919 determined to develop a modern and distinctly national art. Indigenous art was integral to her campaign and, after 1932, when she moved to Berowra in the Hawkesbury Basin near Sydney and encountered local rock art, she embraced its restricted palette and geometric forms. Her appreciation of…

Inventive colour: The art of Grace Cossington Smith

Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) was one of the most inventive colour painters to emerge from Australia’s first wave of modernism in the early decades of the twentieth century. After growing up in Sydney’s northern suburbs, in 1914 Cossington Smith moved with her family to the Turramurra residence that would become her lifelong home and the…

Vibrant and distinctive: The art of Margaret Preston

Recognised and admired for her vibrant and distinctive art, Margaret Preston (1875–1963) possessed an equally colourful personality, and was described by one associate as ‘the natural enemy of the dull’. After committing to a career as an artist from an early age, Preston completed her academic training in Melbourne and Adelaide before spending two lengthy…