(Australia 1892 – 20 Dec 1984)
61.6 x 50.7 cm stretcher; 77.2 x 66.0 x 6.4 cm frame
Grace Cossington Smith’s 'The sock knitter' has been acclaimed as the first post-impressionist painting to be exhibited in Australia. A remarkable student work, the painting signalled a challenge to the artistic traditions of the time. The extreme flattening of the picture plane and the use of bright, expressive, broken colour applied in broad brush-strokes to delineate form reflects the aesthetic concerns of European painters such as Cézanne, Matisse and van Gogh.
The subject of the painting is Madge, the artist’s sister, knitting socks for soldiers serving on the frontline in World War I. Distinctly modern in its outlook, 'The sock knitter' counterpoints the usual narratives of masculine heroism in wartime by focusing instead on the quiet steady efforts of the woman at home.
Jude Adams, Barbara Hall and Jennifer Barber, Project 21: Women's images of women, Sydney, 1977, (illus.). cat.no. 40; Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Mark Anderson and Paul Ashton, Australian history and citizenship, 'Australia and World War I', pg. 70-103, South Yarra, 2000, 84 (colour illus.). source 2.27; NSW Secondary School History syllabus
Dr Joseph Brown (Editor), The CBUS collection of Australian art, Melbourne, 2009, 67.
Marcia Cameron, Living stones: St Swithun's Pymble 1901 - 2001, Wahroonga, 2001, 42 (illus.).
Jonathan Cooper (Editor), Exhibitions events - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 1998-Jan 1999, back (colour illus.).
Jackie de Diana, Look, 'Art and Australia: More views of European preludes and parallels', pg. 16-17, Newtown, Nov 2010, 16.
Mary Eagle, Australian Modern Painting Between the Wars 1914-1939, 'Light in Sydney', pg. 30-41, Sydney, 1989, 32.
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 103-104, 113, 302.
Stephen Farthing (Editor), 1001 paintings you must see before you die, London, 2007, (colour illus.).
Joanna Gilmour, Portrait profile: Grace Cossington Smith, 'Portrait profile', pg. 2-7, Canberra, 2009, 3 (colour illus.).
Anne Gray, Grace Cossington Smith, 'The sock knitter', pg. 118-121, Canberra, 2005, 12 (colour illus.), 24, 118 (colour illus.), 92, 95, 103, 119-121, 123, 127, 174.
Lelsey Harding, Art and Australia (Vol. 36, No. 4), 'Tempe Manning: the lost modernist', pg. 532-537, North Ryde, 1999, 532 (colour illus.).
Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'L'Esprit Nouveau 1913-1929', pg. 19-47, Carlton, 2009, 25 (colour illus.).
Deborah Hart, Look, 'Grace Cossington Smith: looking bakc at a life of colour and light', pg. 28-31, Newtown, Nov 2005, 28.
Dr Deborah Hart, Symposium papers: Colour in art - revisiting 1919 & R-Balson, 'Beatrice Irwin and Grace Cossington Smith: women on the wings of colour in art', pg. 17-22, Paddington, 2008, 18-19.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 132 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Grace Cossington Smith, 'The knitter', pg. 26-36, Sydney, 1990, 30, 31 (colour illus.), 32-36, 38, 41, 48, 161. plate no. 4
Bruce James, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 40-51, Roseville, 2000, 42.
Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'In the shadow of the master', pg. 3, North Sydney, 28 Nov 1998, 3. This appears in the Sprectrum section of the newspaper.
Bruce James, Good Weekend, Sydney, 20 Jul 1996, 8,22.
Richard Linden, Australia's best painters: Tom Roberts, Hugh Ramsay and Thea Proctor, Port Melbourne, 1997, 8, 28, 38.
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Jenny McFarlane, Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 2), 'Grace Cossington Smith: a golden thread running through time', pg. 171-172, Paddington, Dec 2005-Feb 2006, 171.
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Drusilla Modjeska, Brought to light: Australian Art 1850-1965, 'A Singular Portrait. Grace Cossington Smith Portrait of a man', pg. 120-123, South Brisbane, 1998, 120, 122 (illus.), 123.
Drusilla Modjeska, The Weekend Australian magazine, 'A woman's lot', pg. 22-25, Surry Hills, 21 Aug 1999-22 Aug 1999, 23 (colour illus.).
Drusilla Modjeska, Stravinsky's lunch, 'To Paint What She Saw: Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 203-334, Sydney, 1999, (colour illus.). plate no. 17
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Virginia Spate, Art Monthly Australia, 'Amazing Grace: Thoughts inspired by the Grace Cossington Smith exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra', pg. 22-30, Acton, Aug 2005, 22 (colour illus.), 23-24.
Catherine Speck, Painting ghosts: Australian women artists in wartime, Melbourne, 2004, 55 (colour illus.), 56, 229. illus.no. 24
Peter Stanley, Digger Smith and Australia's Great War: ordinary name--extraordinary stories, 'The Smiths at home', pg. 82-93, Sydney, 2011, 85 (colour illus.), 358.
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Author Unknown, Advance Australia Fair, 1991, (illus.).
Thirty-sixth Annual Exhibition of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales (1915), Exhibition Gallery Department of Public Instruction, Sydney, Oct 1915 -
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1961–23 Apr 1961
Grace Cossington Smith (1973-74):
Project 21 - Womens images of women (1977), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1977–13 Nov 1977
Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara series from the collection of CRA Limited, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 04 Oct 1985–06 Nov 1985
Australian Painters Seeing Cézanne, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Nov 1998–17 Jan 1999
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective exhibition (2005):
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