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An image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston

Margaret Preston

(Australia, England, France 29 Apr 1875 – 28 May 1963)

Title
Manly Harbour Beach
Other titles:
Manly Corso
Picnic at Manly
Year
1943
Media category
Painting
Materials used
oil on canvas
Dimensions

43.0 x 35.0 cm stretcher; 42.5 x 34.7 cm sight ; 57.5 x 49.7 x 6.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "M. Preston/ 43".
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by the Walter and Gillian Bunning Bequest Fund 2004
Accession number
240.2004
Copyright
© Margaret Rose Preston Estate
Location
Not on display
Further information

Margaret Preston is arguably Australia's most celebrated early modernist painter who created exuberant innovative compositions over the 1920s, 30s and 40s which have remained amongst the most popular of all Australian artist's works. Not only a seminal modernist, Preston was the country's first serious advocate of Aboriginal art. 'Manly Harbour Beach' demonstrates the transition of Preston's art in the 1940s away from the intense saturated colours and design orientation of her work in the 1920s and 1930s to the restricted ochres of Aboriginal painting thus recreating the urban environment through reference to the indigenous inspired vision which she considered central in her promotion of a modern and nationally relevant art.

While much of Preston's work in the 1940s turned increasingly away from an urban vision and, inspired by her extensive travel across Australia and to Aboriginal communities and painting and carving sites, focused toward redefining the nation's landscapes, 'Manly Harbour Beach' provides a rare example of the artist's references to Aboriginal art within the metropolitan context. 'Manly Harbour Beach' is indicative of a group of works that were produced during the war years where the Preston adopted a faux-naive style, which, informed by the growing interest in the immediacy of children's art, was used by Preston to recount scenes of her everyday environment during the years of the Second World War. Her focus on localised experience within the context of international conflict is indicative of Preston's ongoing expression of nationalist content.

Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004

Bibliography (8)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005, Sydney, 2005, front cover (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005, Sydney, 2005, 17, 63.

Deborah Edwards, Margaret Preston, 'An art for Australia from Australians 1940s-1950s', pg. 173-250, Sydney, 2005, 180 (colour illus.), 185.

Deborah Edwards and Rose Peel, Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1943.

Therese Kenyon and Rhonda Davis, Harbourlife, 'foreword', pg. 5, Sydney, 2007, 4 (colour illus.), 5, 56.

New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition, Sydney, 1943. cat.no. 76; titled 'Manly Harbour Beach'; price: 15 Gns.

Sydney Ure Smith, Australian present day art, 'Margaret Preston', pg. 58, Sydney, 1943, 63 (illus.). titled 'Manly Harbour Beach'

Sixth Annual Exhibition: Contemporary Art Society, Sydney, 1944. cat.no. 181; titled 'Picnic at Manly'; price: 20 gns.

Exhibition history (5)

Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1943), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 14 Aug 1943–01 Sep 1943

Contemporary Art Society Sixth Annual Exhibition (1944), Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, 26 Jun 1944–14 Jul 1944

Margaret Preston retrospective:

Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times:

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