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An image of The artist and his model by Grace Crowley

Grace Crowley

(Australia 28 May 1890 – 21 Apr 1979)

The artist and his model
Place of origin
SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
Media category
Materials used
oil on hardboard

86.0 x 54.0 cm board; 98.7 x 66.7 x 2.4 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, black oil "GRACE CROWLEY/ -/38".
Gift of the artist 1975
Accession number
© Reproduced with permission of Grace Crowley Estate
Not on display
Further information

The subject of Grace Crowley’s work is fellow artist Ralph Balson, painting a model on the roof terrace of Crowley’s studio in George Street, Sydney. Influenced by the cubist theories of French artist André Lhote, whose teaching emphasised the importance of subsuming colour into geometric structure, 'The artist and his model' reveals a disintegration of figurative forms and division of the pictorial space into decorative areas. It also signalled a growing commitment, shared by both artists, to complete abstraction.

In 1939, Crowley and Balson took part in the important 'Exhibition I' at David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. With other participating artists – including Rah Fizelle, Frank Hinder and Eleonore Lange – Balson and Crowley collaborated in the 1930s as leaders of the second phase of the modern movement in Australia, developing the earlier ideas of Roland Wakelin, Roy de Maistre and others that dated from the beginning of World War I.

Bibliography (10)

Bruce Adams, Ralph Balson A Retrospective, Bulleen, Jul 1989, 8 (illus.), 9.

Candice Bruce, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, '"Built on Each Other" Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson', pg. 224-229, Brisbane, 1998, 224 (illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 126 (colour illus.), 300.

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'Dynamic Modernism', pg.228-239, Carlton, 2013, 237 (colour illus.), 238, 549, 558. plate no. 23.10

Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 47 (colour illus.).

Elena Taylor, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Collaborators: Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson', pg. 272-273, Sydney, 2013, 272, 273 (colour illus.), 311, 321.

Elena Taylor, Grace Crowley: being modern, Canberra, 2006, 35, 36 (colour illus.), 37, 61.

Daniel Thomas (Curator), Project 4: Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. 23

Daniel Thomas, Symposium papers: Colour in art - revisiting 1919 & R-Balson, 'Keynote address: Modern Australia: Colour in art 1910s-1950s', pg. 3-11, Paddington, 2008, 9, 11, 35,.

Natalie Wilson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Grace Crowley / Ralph Balson / Frank Hinder / Margel Hinder', pg. 88-103, Sydney, 2002, 90 (colour illus.), 142, 147.

Exhibition history (8)

Exhibition I, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 17 Aug 1939–02 Sep 1939

Balson, Crowley, Fizelle, Hinder:

Project 4 - Grace Crowley (1975), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 May 1975–08 Jun 1975

Aspects of Australian art: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1976, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976–1977

Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003

Sydney studios, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 14 Aug 2004–26 Sep 2004

Grace Crowley: being modern:

Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013