Completed on the eve of her return to Sydney following four years of study in France, 'Portrait of Lucie Beynis' depicts a professional model whom Crowley painted over a period of four mornings whilst attending L'Academie Lhote in Paris.
Crowley recounted, 'we were united in one belief, the constructive approach to painting, and this insistence of the abstract elements in building up a design was the keynote of teaching with Lhote and Gleizes ... we were discouraged from making merely a faithful record of the nude [model] ... the abstract elements in line, shape and colour were introduced in order to induce the student to construct from it a design within a given space'.
Lhote's modified version of Cubism was one in which the human figure is retained, held within a field of dissecting geometric planes and shafts of colour running through the body. This approach dominated Crowley's semi-abstract paintings during the thirties, until her departure into pure abstraction in the 1940s.
oil on canvas on hardboard
79.7 x 64.5 cm stretcher; 92.4 x 77.1 x 3.3 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, (pencil?) "GRACE CROWLEY [faint]". Not dated.
© Reproduced with permission of Grace Crowley Estate
Where the work was made
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Project 4 - Grace Crowley (1975), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 May 1975–08 Jun 1975
Project 21 - Womens images of women (1977), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1977–13 Nov 1977
Two centuries of Australian painting, a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Orange Regional Gallery, Australia, 19 Apr 1986–15 Jun 1986
Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Mar 1995–04 Jun 1995
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Grace Crowley: being modern:
- National Gallery of Australia, Parkes 23 Dec 2006–06 May 2007
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 27 Jul 2007–28 Oct 2007
- Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor 21 Dec 2007–17 Feb 2008
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 19 Mar 2008–18 May 2008
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 14 Jun 2008–21 Sep 2008
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 02 Oct 2008–23 Nov 2008
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales:
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 18 publications
Jude Adams, Barbara Hall and Jennifer Barber, Project 21: Women's images of women, Sydney, 1977. cat.no. 12; Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 103 (colour illus.).
Janine Burke, Australian women artists 1840-1940, Collingwood, 1980, 52, 111 (colour illus.). plate no. 33
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 104, 125 (colour illus.), 300.
Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 30 (illus.). cat.no. 29
Anne Gray, Face: Australian portraits 1880-1960, Canberra, 2010, 98.
Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'L'Esprit Nouveau 1913-1929', pg. 19-47, Carlton, 2009, 40 (colour illus.).
Lois Hunter, The Australian art companion - A selection of influential artists, 'Grace Crowley', pg. 98-99, Balgowlah Heights, (1990), 98, 99 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 140 (colour illus.).
Terence Maloon, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'The pedagogy of modern art: the quest for modernity by Australian artists abroad', pg. 239-251, Sydney, 2013, 249 (colour illus.), 311.
Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 45 (colour illus.).
Jane Somerville, Look, 'Setting the record straight', pg. 15-16, Sydney, Mar 2007, 15 (colour illus.).
Elena Taylor, Grace Crowley: being modern, Canberra, 2006, 21 (colour illus.), 23, 31-32, 59.
Daniel Thomas (Curator), Project 4: Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. cat.no. 14
Natalie Wilson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Grace Crowley / Ralph Balson / Frank Hinder / Margel Hinder', pg. 88-103, Sydney, 2002, 88. 89 (colour illus.), 142, 147.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Apr 1965, (illus.).
Grace Crowley's contribution to Australian modernism and geometric abstraction, 'Paris and André Lhote', pg. 33-35, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010, 54, 56 (illus.). figure 2.2
Author Unknown, The Australian Womens Diary 1995, 1994, 49, 50 (colour illus.). cat.no. 77. Entry by Janine Burke. Biography by Janine Burke, p. 337-338.