NSW and West Australian banksia


NSW and West Australian banksia 1929 is one of a number of paintings by Margaret Preston in which she used the floral still life to bring attention to the natural world and landscape as a way of expressing place and the notion of ‘home’. The distinctive organic forms of the banksia and restrained use of colour were emblematic of Preston’s commitment to painting native flowers as part of her quest to create a uniquely Australian national art.

Margaret Preston, Australia 1875-1963 / NSW and West Australian banksia 1929 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1972 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Margaret Preston 1929/Licensed by Viscopy 2017

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism’ is on show at the Queensland Art Gallery until 11 June 2017 and is accompanied by an exhibition publication available from the QAGOMA Store.


The exhibition explores the intersection of three remarkable modernist painters who each used colour and abstraction to create a distinct, identifiable art. Even though they did not discuss their work with each other, North American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) and Australians Margaret Preston (1875–1963) and Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) shared a passionate curiosity for the natural world, and each worked within the emerging transcultural discourse of Modernism.

Presented by the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Gordon Darling Foundation.