Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Australian art

View More:


(Figure study, nude holding a book)



Grace Crowley


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.


Other Title

Figure study: Nude seated, holding book [Project 4]

Place where the work was made

Paris France



Media category


Materials used

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

Accession number


Artist information

Grace Crowley

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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. 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