Crossword: How well do you know your Australian Art History 1933–78?


Australian Art History 1933–1978 is a larger-than-life crossword by Noel McKenna in the shape of Australia, intended for an in-crowd interested in Australian art history of the twentieth century. As time marches on since the work was created in 2004, the questions have become harder to answer. So, how well do you know your Australian art history? We have listed all the questions here for you, so let us know how you go. 

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Noel McKenna, Australia b.1956 / Australian Art History 1933–1978 2004 / Synthetic polymer paint and enamel on canvas / 152.5 x 183cm / Courtesy: The artist and / Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney / © The artist


2. One of the ‘Annandale Imitation Realists’. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

6. Artist, designer. Born in Toowoomba 1903. Mural for Bathurst High School in 1941, the artist won the first of 3 Sulman Art prizes. Between 1941-44 was a camouflage office (RAAF). Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

7. Born Frankfurt 1914. Artist, art critic at SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) 1942-57. Last name only. [9 LETTERS]

9. Born Wales 1920. Artist. Arrived Port Kembla 1923. At age 14 designed his own racing bicycle and had it made. Worked as an engineer until retirement. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

10. Author of ‘Place, Taste and Tradition’. A Study of Australian Art since 1788’. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

12. Born 1927. Lilydale, Australia. Artist. 1968 solo exhibition at Chester Beatty Research Institute, London. Painting Sugar Workers’ Mess 1960, 44 x 46 cm in NGA (National Gallery of Victoria) Collection. Last name only. [7 LETTERS]

14. Painter. Exhibited with Contemporary Group of Melbourne formed by George Bell in the 1930’s. Last name only. [4 LETTERS]

15. In 1941, artist’s painting Monday Morning acquired by Metropolitan Museum of Art. Last name only. [8 LETTERS]

16. In 1974, first solo show (at age 57) at Macquarie Galleries, Canberra. Last name only. [9 LETTERS]

18. Artist. Designed cover for Henry Miller’s novel ‘Murder the Murderer’ published by Rees and Harris 1942. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

19. Born Ipswich, Australia 1897. Arts writer for Herald in Melbourne in the 1930s. In 1939 assembled for Sir Keith Murdock the first exhibition of French and British Modern Art (over 200 works including Bonnard, Braque, Gris, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Nicholson and Sutherland. Last name only. [7 LETTERS]

21. Artist. Painted Mad Girl 1941-43, oil on tin, 44.5 x 57.2 cm. Both names. [9 LETTERS]

23. Fictitious poet created by James McAuley and Harold Stewart in 1943. 1st name only. [3 LETTERS]

24. Artist. Had one man exhibition at Hirsch and Adler Galleries, New York in 1960. Both names. [12 LETTERS]

28. Artist. Born 1928. Painting Bicycle Boys 1955 92.5×77.2 cm in NGA (National Gallery of Australia) collection. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

31. Artist. Born 1908. Painter. Husband was a sculptor. Their home is now a public gallery on the outskirts of Sydney. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

33. Artist. Drawing by artist is on cover of ‘The Vegetative Eye’, a novel by Max Harris, 1943. Both names. [11 LETTERS]

35. Artist. Born 1920 Melbourne, September 11, 1952, gave lecture on Seurat at NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). Exhibition of racecourse series of prints and watercolours in 1956. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

36. Australian Art Dealer. The dealer’s gallery staged a solo exhibition of Colin McCahon in 1975. Both Names. [9 LETTERS]

37. Artist. Born 1891. Painting The olive plantation 1946 is in Art Gallery of South Australia collection. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

39. Artist. Painting Kangaroo hunt acquired by MOMA, New York in 1941. Last name only. [11 LETTERS]

41. Artist. Born 1890 England. 2nd solo show in 1965 acclaimed by Daniel Thomas as the ‘first non-figurative one-man show in Australia’. 2nd name only. [6 LETTERS]

42. Artist. Born 1923. Expressionist painter. Painting Lunatic 1957 in NGA (National Gallery of Australia) collection. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

44. Artist. Captured and imprisoned in Germany in 1914. There began studies in Chinese Calligraphy which was the beginning of life-long fascination for China. First name only. [3 LETTERS]

45. Artist, designer, born 1910. Painted first abstract painting in Melbourne 1933. Organised line to yellow. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

46. Artist. Born 1939. Did a series of paintings based on Lavender Bay, Sydney, where the artist lived. Last name only. [8 LETTERS]

RELATED: Noel McKenna’s crossword solved

Noel McKenna, Australia b.1956 / Australian Art History 1933–1978 2004 / Synthetic polymer paint and enamel on canvas / 152.5 x 183cm / Courtesy: The artist and / Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney / © The artist


1. Melbourne Gallery. Held an exhibition of Anti-Fascist art in 1942. One word … Gallery. [9 LETTERS]

2. Artist. Born Sheffield, UK, 1940. Exhibited ‘The Field’ NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), 1968. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

3. Artist. Awarded Gold medal at Sao Paulo Biennale in 1971. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

4. Artist. Painted picture We inhabit the corrosive littoral of habit 15 ¾ x 19 ½ inches 1941. Collection NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). Last name only. [7 LETTERS]

5. Artist. In 1941 adopted Dorrit Black’s ‘golden section’ device (Greek geometry) to calculate the structure of paintings. Both names. [12 LETTERS]

8. Gallery Director. Wrote catalogue for ‘Fred Williams, Etchings’ published by Rudy Koman Gallery in 1968. Last name only. [8 LETTERS]

11. Artist. Was in ‘The Field’ show 1968 at NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). Also photographed seated with his back to the camera on page 180 of ‘Private View, The Lively World of British Art’, published 1965. Both names. [14 LETTERS]

13. Artist. Won the Wynne Prize for a 4th time, gave the prizemoney back to the AGNSW (Art Gallery of New South Wales) provided they purchase a work by Gunther Christmann. Both names. [10 LETTERS]

17. Artist. In 1976 made an alphabetical list of every word ending in ‘se’ and added an ‘x’, using Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary. Last name only. [4 LETTERS]

20. Curator. Worked at AGNSW (Art Gallery of New South Wales), 1960s, then NGA (National Gallery of Victoria), then AGSA (Art Gallery South Australia). Wrote article on Tony Tuckson, Art & Australia Vol 11, No 3. 1974. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

21. Artist. Portrait of the artist won Archibald Prize in 1943. Both names. [11 LETTERS]

22. Potter. Patriarch of family of artists. Both names. [10 LETTERS]

24. Sole woman on the first Visual Arts Board in 1973. Both names. [8 LETTERS]

25. Art Dealer, Exhibited John Brack’s ‘Ballroom series’ in 1970. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

26. Melbourne Gallery. Started in 1978, derived its name from the name of the lane it was situated on. First name only. [7 LETTERS]

27. Arts patrons. Their home on the outskirts of Melbourne in the 40’s became a focus for Australia’s most radical artists, writers and jazz musicians. Last name only. [4 LETTERS]

29. Artist. One man show, Watters Gallery, 1971. ‘Heavy Aesthetic Content’. Last name only. [5 LETTERS]

30. Artist. Opened bookshop and gallery, The Notanda Gallery in 1940 in Sydney. Both names. [9 LETTERS]

32. Artist. Born London 1893. As a result of injuries from WW1 had to learn to paint with left hand. Arrived Australia 1935. Last name only. [7 LETTERS]

34. Artist. Joined English Surrealist Group led by Roland Penrose. Painted The bridge 1945, 69 x 103.5 cms. AGSA (Art Gallery South Australia) on loan. Both names. [9 LETTERS]

38. Magazine. Started in 1940 as a literary magazine. But reproduced many works by artists in sympathy with its radical ideals. 2nd name only. [8 LETTERS]

40. Artist. Created a work Holden park which was 19 colour photographs of FJ Holdens with text. Last name only. [6 LETTERS]

43. Artist. Made a linocut An opera house in every home. Both names. [9 LETTERS]

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Australian Art History 1933–1978 was included in ‘Noel McKenna: Landscape – Mapped‘ at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) 18 November 2017 until 2 April 2018.

Feature image detail: Noel McKenna’s Australian Art History 1933–1978

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  1. Dear QAGOMA
    Is the Noel McKenna crossword available for purchase?
    Kerry & Lesley Yates

  2. Hi Kerry. The crossword by Noel McKenna is an artwork recently on display at the Queensland Art Galley titled ‘Australian Art History 1933–1978’, unfortunately as the work is owned by the artist we don’t have any reproductions for sale. Thanking you for your interest.