Margaret Preston: Aboriginal still life


Margaret Preston (1875-1963)  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 Indigenous art was sincere and enlightened for her time; however, the forms and motifs that inform the modernist style of this painting are displaced from their original cultural and spiritual contexts.

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Margaret Preston, Australia 1875-1963 / Aboriginal still life 1940 / Oil on canvas / Gift of the Godfrey Rivers Trust through Miss Daphne Mayo 1940 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Margaret Preston/Copyright Agency

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Feature image detail: Margaret Preston Aboriginal still life 1940

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