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Australian art

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Still life

circa 1945-1950


Godfrey Miller


20 Aug 1893 - 10 May 1964


This painting is remarkable in its vivacity and vibrancy of colour, depicting a dynamic still life arrangement with skillful resolution of objects. It encapsulates Godfrey Miller's ideological search for unity; the fundamental interconnectedness of all matter in a disparate, fragmented world. Objects are absorbed into the grid system covering the entire picture surface, characteristic of the artist's idiosyncratic cubism. The painting's sparkling patterns, judicious placements and dynamic movement between vibrating spheres of fruit form part of the artist's expression of his life-long interest in spiritual and scientific systems.

Miller was deeply cerebral and philosophical in his quest to create work that accorded with his views on art and life. Trained initally as an architect in New Zealand, he studied and lived around Melbourne during the 1920s, then settled in Sydney in 1939 following extensive travel in Asia and Europe and a decade of study in London.



circa 1945-1950

Media category


Materials used

oil, pen and black ink on canvas


51.6 x 56.8 cm

Signature & date

Signed l.r., black ink "GM". Not dated.


Gift of the H.G. Slater Foundation 1981


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Godfrey Miller

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 14 publications


Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian 20th Century Art', pg. 71-89, Sydney, 1984, 77 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 215 (colour illus.), 301.

Deborah Edwards, Godfrey Miller, Sydney, 1996, 39 (colour illus.), 121. plate no. 26

Sasha Grishin, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Roger Kemp / Godfrey Miller', pg. 104-115, Sydney, 2002, 110 (colour illus.), 145, 147.

Kate Hart, Australian art pack: 1788-21st century still life, Box Hill, (2006), (colour illus.). card 4

Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Patrick White's choice', pg. 114-119, Carlton, 2002, 118-119.

Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'In the shadow of the master', pg. 3, Sydney, 28 Nov 1998, 3 (colour illus.). This appears in the Sprectrum section of the newspaper.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 27.

Barry Pearce, The world of Antiques & Art, 'Exploring hidden treasures in Parallel Visions', pg. 124-126, Bondi Junction, Jul 2002-Dec 2002, 126 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce and Patrick McCaughey, Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara Series, Tokyo, 1985, 23 (colour illus.). 7

Ursula Prunster, Australian painters; Seeing Cézanne, 'An era of staunch individuals: the 1940s to 1960s', pg. 9-12, Sydney, 1998, 10, 14 (colour illus.), 30. 10

Ursula Prunster, Look, 'Australian Painters: Seeing Cézanne', pg. 20-21, Heidelberg, Nov 1998, 21 (colour illus.).

Patrick White, Patrick White's Choice, Sydney, Dec 1981, (colour illus.). 10

Project 41 - the mosaic, the grid, Sydney, 1983. 2