Figures in a classical landscape
1908 - 16 Mar 1991
'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.
oil on plywood
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.
Bequest of Margaret Olley 2012
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Jean Bellette retrospective (2004-2005):
- Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst 10 Dec 2004–16 Jan 2005
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney 12 Mar 2005–15 Apr 2005
- University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane 06 May 2005–12 Jun 2005
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 12 Jul 2005–28 Aug 2005
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 10 Nov 2005–18 Dec 2005
Referenced in 1 publication
Christine France, Amanda Beresford and Barbara Hall, Jean Bellette retrospective, Sydney, 2004, 37 (colour illus.), 71.