This tour celebrates some of the pioneering women artists whose work from the Gallery's collection is currently on display.
15th–19th c European art
Beatrice Cenci, (1857)
Neoclassicism produced a significant number of women sculptors, many of whom were American by birth. Among them, Harriet Hosmer enjoyed perhaps the greatest celebrity, entertaining dignitaries and connoisseurs in her Roman atelier with the practical aplomb of a 'grand maître'.
19th c Australian art
Dian dreams (Una Falkiner), (1909)
Violet Teague achieved recognition as a fashionable portrait painter in the early 1900s, having studied in Brussels, London and Melbourne. Her painting Dian dreams is an assured study, on a grand scale, of Mrs Una Falkiner, a famous beauty of her time and a student at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Untitled (Alhalker), (1992)
Emily Kam Ngwarray lived in the remote community of Utopia, 230 kilometres northeast of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), where she worked as a camel handler and stockhand. After becoming a professional painter in the last decade of her life, she is said to have produced over 3000 paintings in eight years.
20th & 21st c Australian art
Self portrait, (1930)
Margaret Preston was one of Australia's most celebrated modern artists and an outspoken public voice on Australian culture. Renowned as a printmaker as well as a painter, she championed a distinctly Australian style.
Studio portrait, Chelsea, (1915)
Norah Simpson is credited with playing an important role in the introduction of post-Impressionism to Australia, although she is an unfamiliar figure in Australia – she moved permanently to Europe in 1915 and subsequently ceased painting.
Grace Cossington Smith
The sock knitter, (1915)
Grace Cossington Smith is one of Australia’s most celebrated 20th-century painters. Her remarkable student work The sock knitter has been acclaimed as the first post-Impressionist painting to be exhibited in Australia. By depicting the quiet, steady effort of her sister knitting socks for the soldiers during WWI, she provides a counterpoint to the usual focus on masculine heroism during wartime.
Self portrait, (1932)
Daughter of renowned landscape painter Hans Heysen, Nora Heysen established her own reputation as a distinguished portrait and still-life painter, becoming the first woman to win the Archibald Prize and to be appointed an Australian official war artist during the Second World War.