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Modern Australian women: paintings and prints 1925-1945

13 July - 26 August 2001

The women who changed Australian art forever

In the mid-1920s when Australian art was beginning to atrophy into clichéd conservative landscapes, it was saved by women, who injected vitality and a new approach to style and subject matter.

Artists such as Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Grace Crowley, Dorrit Black and Ethel Spowers were the pioneers and promoters of modernism in Australia, exploring new ideas about what art could portray and introducing artistic developments such as Cubism. Their paintings and prints challenged other artists and certainly challenged Australian audiences.

Many of these 'modern' women led adventurous and unconventional lives. They travelled and studied in Europe. Many were financially independent and did not need to conform to the requirements of a (largely male) conventional and conservative art-buying public. Most chose to remain unmarried and childless so as to devote themselves to their art.

Modern Australian Women: paintings and prints 1925-1945 is a major exhibition focussing on Australia's great women artists of the modernist period. It includes important and iconic works by the well-known names of Australian art history - Margaret Preston, Grace Crowley, Grace Cossington Smith - as well as works by artists such as Clarice Beckett and Stella Bowen who have only recently begun to receive the attention they deserve.

Modern Australian Women: paintings and prints 1925-1945 is an Art Gallery of South Australia Travelling Exhibition. This exhibition is supported by Marsh, the Australian Women's Weekly and Visions of Australia.

For further information please contact: Public Affairs, +61 2 6240 6431or
Elena Taylor, Curator, Australian Art, +61 2 6240 6635.