(Australia, England, France 29 Apr 1875–28 May 1963)
43.0 x 35.0cm stretcher; 57.0 x 49.2 x 5.8cm frame
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 Corso' 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 Corso' provides a rare example of the artist's references to Aboriginal art within the metropolitan context. 'Manly Corso' 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
Gavin Wilson (Australia) (Author), Harbourlife, Sydney, 2007, 4 (colour illus.), 5, 56.
Deborah Edwards (Australia) (Author), Margaret Preston, Sydney, 2005, 180 (colour illus.), 185.
Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics 2005, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1943.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005 2005, 2005, 17, 63.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005 2005, 2005, front cover (colour illus.).
Sixth Annual Exhibition: Contemporary Art Society, Sydney, 1944. cat.no. 181; titled 'Picnic at Manly'; price: 20 gns.
Sydney Ure Smith (Australia, b.1887, d.1949) (Editor), Australian present day art, Sydney, 1943, 63 (illus.). titled 'Manly Harbour Beach'
New South Wales Society of Artists (Australia, estab. 1895, closed 1960s) (Author), Society of Artists Annual Exhibition, Sydney, 1943. cat.no. 76; titled 'Manly Harbour Beach'; price: 15 Gns.
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1943), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], 14 Aug 1943–01 Sep 1943.
Contemporary Art Society Sixth Annual Exhibition (1944), Vickery's Galleries, 26 Jun 1944–14 Jul 1944.
Margaret Preston retrospective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 29 Jul 2005–23 Oct 2005.
Margaret Preston retrospective, Queensland Art Gallery, 18 Feb 2006–07 May 2006.
Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times, Manly Regional Art Gallery and Museum, 30 Nov 2007–13 Jan 2008.
Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times, Macquarie University Art Gallery, 23 Jan 2008–08 Mar 2008.
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 05 Oct 2011–27 Nov 2011.
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, 10 Dec 2011–04 Mar 2012.