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An image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith
Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith
Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith Alternate image of The curve of the bridge by Grace Cossington Smith

Grace Cossington Smith

(Australia 1892 – 20 Dec 1984)

The curve of the bridge
Place of origin
SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
Media category
Materials used
oil on cardboard

110.5 x 82.5 cm board; 126.5 x 99.0 x 8.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, black ink "G.Cossington Smith". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales and James Fairfax AO 1991
Accession number
© Estate of Grace Cossington Smith
Not on display
Further information

Throughout its construction, which was completed in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge inspired many artists to redefine their visions of the city and the harbour by incorporating this new industrial structure. This painting shows the massive frame-work in mid-construction, emerging from the shores of North Sydney. It reveals Grace Cossington Smith’s view of the bridge as a dynamic work-in-progress.

In a powerful translation of forms through colour and light, the painting radiates optimism and energy in a celebration of modern engineering and, more broadly, the modern age. The artist made many pencil studies onsite, which she inscribed with notes on colour, took back to her studio and transformed into an iconic expression of Sydney’s most enduring urban monument.

Bibliography (39)

John Masters, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'From the sponser', pg. 8, Sydney, 2013, 8, 12 (colour illus.), 34, 154, 155 (colour illus.), 315, 324.

Susannah Smith, Look, 'Women's work: their diverse and significant contribution to the modernist art scene', pg. 13-15, Newtown, Aug 2013, 14.

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, 'New Australia', pg. 24-27, Newtown, May 2012, 24, 27 (colour illus.),.

Jill Sykes, Look, ‘Barry Pearce’s next book-call it “segueing with intent”’, pg. 28-29, Newtown, Mar 2012, 28, 29 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Jewel of a painting returns: Out of Australian sight for nearly ninety years', pg. 12-13, Newtown, Mar 2010, 12.

Craig Bush, Look, 'Years of enrichment: The society reaches another milestone', pg. 12-15, Newtown, May 2009, 14.

Dinah Dysart, Art and Australia (Vol. 46, No. 3), 'Australianness: Daniel Thomas reflects on a lifetime spent on moving art beyond the margins', pg. 438-447, Paddington, 2009, 442 (colour illus.).

Kathryn Hendy-Ekers, Louise Chamberlin and Deryck Greenwood, Art-iculate: art for VCE units 1-4, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 151-153, Port Melbourne, 2009, 151 (colour illus.).

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Michael Moy, Sydney Harbour Bridge: Idea to icon, Ashgrove, 2006, 49 (colour illus.).

Caroline Mackaness, Bridging Sydney, Sydney, 2006, 167 (colour illus.).

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Deborah Jones, The Weekend Australian, 'Australian Icons: masters of the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 1, Surry Hills, 12 Aug 2000-13 Aug 2000, 1 (colour illus.), 4. This colour supplement is a 'Review Special' published for the 'Weekend Australian'. It consists of a four-page, colour wrap-around for the 'Weekend Australian Review'. 'The Australian' was the media sponsor for the AGNSW Exhibition 'Australian Icons', for the Olympic Arts Festival 2000.

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Exhibition history (9)

An Exhibition of Paintings and drawings by Lionel T. Crawshaw, R.S.W., Mrs. Lionel Crawshaw and Grace Cossington Smith, Walker's Galleries, United Kingdom, 22 Apr 1932–12 May 1932

Art Treasures of Olympic Cities, Lausanne Olympic Museum, 22 Jun 1993–03 Oct 1993

Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective exhibition (2005):

Bridging Sydney, Museum of Sydney, Sydney, 16 Dec 2006–29 Apr 2007

Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales:

Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013

Australian Art Quest, State Theatre

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