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Australian art

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Nocturne, Wynyard Square



Dorrit Black


23 Dec 1891 - 13 Sep 1951


Dorrit Black was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Around 1909 she began studies at the South Australia School of Arts and Crafts under Harry Pelling (Pelham) Gill and travelled to England and Europe with her parents in 1911-12. She moved to Sydney in 1915 to study at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School and began exhibiting in 1916. In mid 1927 she left for England where she began studying lino-cutting with Claude Flight at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, London and made her first colour linocuts. In December of that year she went to Paris to study at André Lhote's Academy, interspersed with travel around Europe, where she studied with the Cubist Albert Gleizes and met the inspirational art educator Franz Cizek in Vienna. She returned to Sydney late in 1929 but kept in close contact with Claude Flight for a decade after her return.

This is a view of Wynyard Square, Sydney. It is adjacent to the site of 'The Modern Art Centre' which Black established and ran briefly from 1932-33 at 56 Margaret Street. This print was illustrated in Harry Tatlock Miller's Geelong-based modernist literary and art journal Manuscripts in November 1932. Other titles under which it was exhibited include 'Wynyard Square' and 'Reconstructions, Wynyard Square'.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998


Other Titles

Wynyard Square

Reconstructions, Wynyard Square



Media category


Materials used

linocut, printed in black ink from one block, on thin ivory laid mulberry paper




22.6 x 15 cm blockmark (irreg.); 25.3 x 17.2 cm sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed within block to print l.r., incised "DB [monogram]". Not dated.


Purchased 1976


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Dorrit Black

Works in the collection


Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 11 publications


John Buckley (Curator), Nocturne: images of night and darkness from colonial to contemporary, Mornington, 2002, 26. no catalogue number

Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 16 (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, 156 (illus.). DB 16; 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.

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 72 (illus.). 61

Josef Lebovic, Masterpieces of Australian printmaking, Sydney, 1987, 12, 13 (illus.). 10; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Tracey Lock-Weir, Dorrit Black: unseen forces, Catalogue entry (no catalogue numbers), Adelaide, 2014, 202 (illus.). NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Martin Terry, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Modern destinations', pg. 132-139, Sydney, 2013, 132, 189 (illus.), 217, 310, 320,.

Sarah Thomas, Art and Australia (Vol. 44, No. 1), 'A wider vision: Dorrit Black's Modern Art Centre', pg. 98-103, Sydney, Sep 2006-Nov 2006, 98 (colour illus.), 99.

Maria (Connie) Tornatore-Loong, Japan in Sydney: Professor Sadler & modernism, 1920-30s, 'The remarkable Professor Sadler: Japan, Sydney and Australian modernism', pg.7-49, Sydney, 2011, 32, 40 (colour illus), 136. 20

Kay Vernon, Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 13