- Place where the work was made
- circa 1930
- Media category
- Materials used
- oil on board
- 33.8 x 39.5 cm sight; 48.0 x 53.2 cm frame
- Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, brown oil "C. Beckett". Not dated.
- Purchased with funds provided by the Australian Art Collection Benefactors 2013
- 20th-century galleries (ground floor)
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Clarice Beckett is considered the most significant of the Melbourne group of artists associated with the tonalist painter Max Meldrum with whom she studied from 1917. From the platform of Meldrum's instruction, Beckett developed an original aesthetic, expanding on her teacher's rigid 'scientific' system of tonal construction into one that explored the poetic extensions of ambience and place. In doing so, Beckett produced one of the most distinctive bodies of works seen Melbourne's inter-war decades.
Beckett's was inspired by the modernity of urban and suburban life. Attuned to ideas of Theosophy as a creative stimulus, Beckett composed elements of everyday modern life (cars, trams, telegraph poles, and tarred roads) into poetically-hazed city and landscapes which transcend everyday reality and hint at the supra-real or infinite.
'Evening, St Kilda Road' lyrically elaborates the artist's signature subject in an image of the city's soft-focused modernity. Fusing an urban electric glow with twilight's ambient luminosity, Beckett explores the sfumatoed limits of representation, using darkened box-shaped cars to retrieve her composition from a misty point of abstraction. Beckett activates colour for potent atmospheric effect, enveloping the city with a rosy-toned veil that evokes the last moments of twilight.
Beckett's preference for early evening or morning subjects was not for simple poetic effect. Instead, as 'Evening, St Kilda Road' demonstrates, she was drawn to the technical challenge of painting the essence of her subject within the fleeting moment; and of observing light effects and developing delicate tonal nuances that blurred the terrains of reality and illusion.
Where the work was made
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Australian and international fine art, Deutscher-Menzies, Sydney, Kensington, 15 Jun 2005 -
Important Australian and international art, Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney, Paddington, 28 Aug 2013 -
The ordinary instant, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre, Brighton, 02 Jul 2016–11 Sep 2016
Clarice Beckett survey, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 27 Feb 2021–23 May 2021
20th-Century galleries Rehang (Ground Level), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Aug 2022–2023
Referenced in 3 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art from Australia: 2016 calender, Sydney, 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). month of December
Deutscher-Menzies Fine Art (Compilator), Australian and international fine art, 'Session one, lots 1~223', pg. 15-190, Melbourne, 2005, 32, 33 (colour illus.). lot no. 17; estimated price $35,000-45,000
David Thomas, Important Australian and international art, 'Clarice Beckett', pg. 1, Sydney, 2013, 40, 41 (colour illus.). lot no. 20; estimated price $50,000-70,000