Clara Southern<br/>
Australia 1860–1940<br/>
<em>Wattle, Warrandyte Bridge</em> c. 1910 Warryndyte, Victoria<br/>
oil on canvas on board<br/>
Private Collection, Melbourne<br/>

Modern Australian Women

Works from a Private Collection

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square

Level 2

19 Oct 18 – 24 Mar 19

The turn of the twentieth century was a crucial time for women artists in Australia. By 1900, women were a visible and active presence at the country’s major art schools, including at the National Gallery School in Melbourne, where female students far outnumbered their male peers. Works by women artists were hung at major exhibitions, women slowly began to enter the managing ranks of art societies, and travel to Europe to pursue further study and professional opportunities was commonplace. While prejudice about women’s capacity as artists remained widespread, more women gained recognition and respect as ‘professional artists’ in this period than ever before.

Modern Australian Women: Works from a Private Collection explores the lives and work of more than fifty artists who worked in Australia and abroad between 1880 and 1960. Almost all of these women were professional working artists, often supporting themselves and their families via the sale of art through public exhibitions, commercial galleries and private commissions. The works on display provide insight into women’s professional and economic strategies, as well as their role in introducing Post-impressionism and modernism into Australian art. These works were acquired over a period of forty years and reflect the singular vision and connoisseurship of their passionate collector.

Exhibition labels

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Select Works

Janet Cumbrae-Stewart
Australia 1883–1960, England and Europe 1922–39
Portrait of a young girl in a hat 1919 Melbourne
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the copyright holder
Dorrit Black
Australia 1891–1951, England and France 1927–29
A Dorset farmyard 1944 Adelaide
oil on canvas
Private Collection, Melbourne
Violet Teague
Australia 1872–1951, Europe and England 1890–96
Central Australian sunset 1933 Hermannsburg, Northern Territory
oil on canvas on board
Private Collection, Melbourne
Grace Seccombe
England 1880 – Australia 1956, arrived Australia 1902
Pair of Budgerigars 1935 Sydney
Private Collection, Melbourne
Clara Southern
Australia 1860–1940
Wattle, Warrandyte Bridge c. 1910 Warryndyte, Victoria
oil on canvas on board
Private Collection, Melbourne
Constance Stokes
Australia 1906–91
Head of a young girl early 1960s Melbourne
oil on composition board
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist’s estate
Ellis Rowan
Australia 1848–1922
Barringtonia c. 1891 Thursday Island
Private Collection, Melbourne
Klytie Pate
Australia 1912–2010
Plaque 1940s or 1950s Melbourne
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist
Thea Proctor
Australia 1879–1966, lived in England 1903–12, 1914–21
The rose 1927 Sydney
hand-coloured woodcut, no. 26 from an unnumbered edition
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Margaret Preston
Australia 1875–1963, lived in Europe 1904–07, 1912–19
Hibiscus 1925 Sydney
hand-coloured woodcut, proof
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Margaret Preston/Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia
Ethel Spowers
Australia 1890–1947, lived in England and France 1921–24
Wet afternoon 1930 Melbourne
colour linocut, ed. of 50
Private Collection, Melbourne
Agnes Goodsir
Australia 1864 – France 1939, France 1900–06, 1918–39, England 1906–18
Flowers, vase, fan and beads 1929 Paris
oil on canvas
Private Collection, Melbourne
Dora Meeson
Australian 1869–1955, worked in England (c. 1901)–1955
On a Chelsea balcony 1912
oil on canvas
91.5 x 78.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
© Reproduced by permission of Lt.Col Simon R Hearder on behalf of the heirs in copyright
Eveline Syme
Australia 1888–1961, England 1907–10, 1929–31
Outskirts of Siena 1930–31 Siena
colour linocut on Japanese paper, ed. 9/25
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist's estate
Esther Paterson
Australia 1892–1971
St Kilda Beach, Middle Park c. 1925 St Kilda
oil on canvas on board
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist’s estate
Hilda Rix Nicholas
Australia 1884–1961, France and England 1907–18, France 1924–26
Moroccan scene, Tangiers c. 1912 Tangiers, Morocco
pastel on paper
Private Collection, Melbourne
© Bronwyn Wright
Dora Wilson
England 1882 – Australia 1946, arrived Australia 1884, England and Europe 1927–29
Paris end of Collins Street late 1930s or early 1940s Melbourne
oil on canvas
Private Collection, Melbourne