Australian legend, number 4: Kangaroo dance and pointing the bone
Australia, England, France
29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963
"In wishing to rid myself of the mannerisms of a country other than my own I have gone to the art of a people who had never seen or known anything different from themselves ... These are the Australian aboriginals [sic] and it is only from the art of such people in any land that a national art can spring."
- Margaret Preston 1925
Margaret Preston's appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal art and culture grew in sophistication from the time she made her first pronouncements on the subject in the 1920s. During her life she made several visits to Central and Northern Australia, and visited rock art sites in and around Sydney, where she lived. The Australian legend series was made towards the end of her career and integrates colours and compositions derived from Aboriginal paintings, as well as motifs from rock art. For example, the large human footprints in each of these prints were taken from rock carvings in the Sydney area which Preston had seen on excursions with the Anthropological Society of New South Wales.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000
Pointing the bone No. 1
colour woodcut on buff Japanese paper
29.9 x 29.6 cm blockmark; 36.0 x 29.6 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed in block to print l.r., incised "MP..".
Signed l.l. beneath blockmark, pencil "Margaret Preston". Not dated.
Not on display
© Margaret Rose Preston Estate
Shown in 10 exhibitions
Society of Artists Autumn Exhibition of Drawings and Prints (1957), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 20 Feb 1957–01 Mar 1957
Society of Artists Exhibition of drawings and prints (1959), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 29 Apr 1959–16 May 1959
Australian Print Survey:
- National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Oct 1963–Nov 1963
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 10 Jun 1964–28 Jun 1964
- Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle Jul 1964 -
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane Aug 1964–Sep 1964
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart Sep 1964–Oct 1964
- National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne Nov 1964–Dec 1964
The art of Margaret Preston, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 23 May 1980–22 Jul 1980
Project 39 - Women's Imprint (1982), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Oct 1982–31 Oct 1982
Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Dec 1985–09 Feb 1986
Australian prints from the Gallery's collection (1998-1999), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Nov 1998–07 Feb 1999
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
The sound of the sky: the Northern Territory in Australian art, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 08 Apr 2006–16 Jul 2006
Sydney Prints: 45 years of the Sydney Printmakers:
Referenced in 9 publications
Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 84 (colour illus.), 93. cat.no. P.75; titled 'Pointing the bone'
Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 1987, 296 (colour illus.). cat.no. 404
Roger Arthur Butler, The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonné, Canberra, 2005, 328 (colour illus.), 329. cat.no. 404
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 62 (colour illus.). cat.no. 52
Daena Murray, The sound of the sky, Darwin, 2006, 89 (colour illus.). figure no. 93
Daena Murray, The sound of the sky: the Northern Territory in Australian art, Darwin, 2006, 14. cat.no. 79
Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 58 (illus.). cat.no. P.48; titled 'Pointing the bone'
Anne Ryan (Curator), Sydney prints: 45 years of the Sydney Printmakers, Sydney, 2006, (colour illus.). List of works.
Anna Waldmann, Project 39 - Women's Imprint, Sydney, 1982. not paginated; no catalogue numbers