(Figure study, nude holding a book)
28 May 1890 - 21 Apr 1979
'We were united in the one belief, the constructive approach to painting, and this insistence of the abstract elements in building a design was the keynote of teaching with both Lhote and Gleizes ... Although the model was used in the class, the student was discouraged from making merely a faithful record of a nude, a draped figure or a portrait. 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.'
Grace Crowley, 1966
This drawing was made during the artist's time in Paris, where she studied under André Lhote a leading teacher of the Cubist movement. Her strongly delineated contours and volumetric modelling of the body accords with Lhote's emphasis on the simplification of forms into basic geometry. The drawing also reveals Crowley's strong grasp of anatomy, acquired through earlier academic training at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School.
Figure study: Nude seated, holding book [Project 4]
pencil on buff wove paper
35.4 x 24.6 cm sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Bequest of the artist 1980
Not on display
© Reproduced with permission of Grace Crowley Estate
Where the work was made
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Project 4 - Grace Crowley (1975), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 May 1975–08 Jun 1975
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
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
Intrepid Women: Australian women artists in Paris 1950, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 01 Dec 2017–25 Mar 2018
The View from 1919, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth, 01 Jun 2019–28 Jul 2019
Referenced in 4 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. catalogue no: 12
Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994.
Daniel Thomas AM (Curator), Project 4: Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. cat.no. 12; titled 'Figure study: Nude seated, holding book'
Helen Topliss, Modernism and Feminism Australian Women Artists 1900-1940, 'Grace Crowley: the Impact of Paris', pg. 70-79, Sydney, 1996, 71(illus.), 74. Illustration 22