Jean Bellette's interest in classical mythological subjects as conveyors of societal values and desires placed her outside the mainstream of modernist production. While consistent with the principles of her broader practice, her still life paintings reveal her exploration of formalist problems and demonstrate her use of modernist techniques such as the creation of ambiguous space and geometric simplification of forms.
'Coastal still life' is one of a number of still lifes Bellette produced during the 1950s, portraying an arrangement of vessels with fruit and flowers. Strong shadows are cast enhancing the geometic qualities of the objects and their rich tonal relationships. The background presents an unresolvable space with a hazy sky amid rectangular, cubist-inspired forms used as compositional devices by the artist.
oil on hardboard
85.8 x 109.8 cm board; 107.6 x 132.6 x 7.3 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, red oil "J Bellette". Not dated.
Signed u.r. verso, black oil ".../ Jean Bellette".
Not on display
Shown in 6 exhibitions
The Sydney Group (1955), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 1955–1955
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1955, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Feb 1956–29 Feb 1956
The Arts Festival of the Olympic Games (1956), National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne, 18 Nov 1956–15 Dec 1956
Jean Bellette retrospective (2004-2005):
- Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst 10 Dec 2004–16 Jan 2005
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks 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
Flora: still life moving fast, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 06 Dec 2008–01 Feb 2009
Still life, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jul 2013–23 Apr 2014
Referenced in 4 publications
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, The Sydney Group (1955), Sydney, 1955. cat.no. 2
Christine France, Amanda Beresford and Barbara Hall, Jean Bellette retrospective, Sydney, 2004, 72.
Grahame Kime., Flora: still life moving fast, 'Flora still moving fast', Gymea, 2008, (colour illus.). not paginated
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1955 National Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney, 1956, 5. cat.no. 2