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Collection

Jean Bellette

(Australia, Spain 1908 – 16 Mar 1991)

Title
Figures in a classical landscape
Place of origin
SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
Year
circa 1950
Media category
Painting
Materials used
oil on plywood
Dimensions

40.0 x 50.0 cm board; 57.3 x 67.3 x 4.5 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.r., red oil "JB". Not dated.
Credit
Bequest of Margaret Olley 2012
Accession number
198.2012
Location
Not on display
Further information

'Group of figures in a landscape' c1950 was completed following the artist’s critical recognition of the 1940s which saw her win the Sir John Sulman Prize for genre painting in 1942 and 1944. Its procession of classical figures embedded within a distant, unspecified setting is not unlike the Gallery’s 'Electra' 1944. Operating outside of modernist, nationalist and socio-political narratives in Australian art, Bellette drew upon Europe’s reinterpretation of the 'essence' of antiquity two decades earlier. It has been suggested that mythology was her means of investigating societal values and psychological traits, even the Australian experience. Bellette stated in 1952:

'I have tried to paint groups of figures in landscape, using mythology as a pretext; my main preoccupation was to try and order space and colours in a certain way, so that they would suggest to me some atmosphere I recognise …'

Significantly, Bellette was a member of the Society of Artists and a co-founder of the Sydney Group.

Bibliography (1)

Christine France, Amanda Beresford and Barbara Hall, Jean Bellette retrospective, Sydney, 2004, 37 (colour illus.), 71.

Exhibition history (1)

Jean Bellette retrospective (2004-2005):