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Australian art

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Ethel Spowers


1890 - 1947


Children were a favourite subject for Spowers, but her approach here reflects a new interest in being modern, following studies at the Grosvenor School in London under Claude Flight. She was encouraged to choose lively, contemporary subjects and create images in which the forms were simplified and abstracted. Colour was to be bright and 'flat' (unmodulated) in tones of equal value. On her return to Australia, she acted as Flight's agent – and with Dorrit Black and Eveline Syme, promoted his teachings and work through a number of exhibitions, mainly in Melbourne.

From the Gallery Shop

Magnet : Ethel Spowers, Swings

8.0cm wide x 5.5cm high


Poster Print Ethel Spowers Swings

34.0cm wide x 37.0cm high





Media category


Materials used

colour linocut, printed on thin ivory laid tissue




24.2 x 26.3 cm image; 29.4 x 30.2 cm sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "E.L. Spowers. 1932".


Purchased 1976


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ethel Spowers

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


Craig Brush, Look, 'The new city explored: Learning Curve lecture series shows the way', pg. 46, Sydney, May 2013, 46 (colour illus.).

Roger Arthur Butler and Chris Deutscher, A survey of Australian relief prints 1900/1950, Armadale, 1978, 86 (illus.). Edition 28/50; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Helen Campbell, Look, 'Colour, rhythm and design: Wood and lino cuts from a time of great creative vitality', pg. 13-15, Sydney, Feb 2010, 14 (colour illus.), 15.

Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 13 (colour illus.).

Stephen Coppel, Linocuts of the machine age: Claude Flight and the Grosvenor school, 'The Australians: Dorrit Black, Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme', pg. 65-68, England, 1995, (colour illus.), 67, 173 (illus.). plate no. 41; ES 22; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Deborah Edwards, Daphne Wallace, Margo Neale, Victoria Lynn and Sandra Byron, Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1995. no catalogue numbers; not paginated

Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994.

Leonard Joel (Compilator), The Sunday fine art auction: Sunday 24 June 2012 Melbourne, Catalogue entry for Lot 208 Ethel Spowers 'Swings', pg. 55, South Yarra, 2012, flyleaf (colour illus.), 55. NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Steven Miller, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Sex, drugs and modern art: the Sydney galleries', pg. 174-183, Sydney, 2013, 176 (colour illus.), 316, 324.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, Sydney, Dec 2005-Jan 2006, 41 (colour illus.).

Helen Topliss, Modernism and Feminism Australian Women Artists 1900-1940, Sydney, 1996, 152 (colour illus.). Collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Anna Waldmann, Project 39 - Women's Imprint, Sydney, 1982. no catalogue numbers; not paginated