DETAIL: Grace COSSINGTON SMITH,  'Interior in yellow', 1964, oil on composition board, National Gallery of Australia

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Australia 1892 – Australia 1984
UK, Europe 1912-14; UK, Italy 1949-51
Signing 1945
oil on paperboard
sight 58.4 (h) x 72.2 (w) cm
framed 71.9 (h) x 85.3 (w) x 5.5 (d) cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 1976
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Cossington Smith painted two very different meetings in relation to the Second World War: one of a major event and the other of everyday experience. Warden’s meeting is about ordinary people contributing at a local level to a cause greater than themselves. Cossington Smith was a Warden for the suburb of Turramurra. As she said, ‘Of course I had my unimportant war job, quite unimportant, but I mean it was what civilians did.’ (Interview with Alan Roberts, 1970).

Signing is about the historic Yalta Agreement in 1945. It is a tense, ambiguous depiction of the encounter of world leaders, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, with photographers in the background. The artist focuses our attention on the act of signing, as if to convey that with a stroke of a pen the fate of millions of lives is sealed. ⨪

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