We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Manly Harbour Beach



Margaret Preston

Australia, England, France

29 Apr 1875 – 28 May 1963

Artist profile

Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
Alternate image of Manly Harbour Beach by Margaret Preston
  • Details

    Other Titles
    Manly Corso
    Picnic at Manly
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    43.0 x 35.0 cm stretcher; 42.5 x 34.7 cm sight ; 57.5 x 49.7 x 6.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "M. Preston/ 43".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Walter and Gillian Bunning Bequest Fund 2004
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Margaret Rose Preston Estate/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Margaret Preston

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Margaret Preston is arguably Australia's most celebrated early modernist painter who created exuberant innovative compositions over the 1920s, 30s and 40s which have remained amongst the most popular of all Australian artist's works. Not only a seminal modernist, Preston was the country's first serious advocate of Aboriginal art. 'Manly Harbour Beach' demonstrates the transition of Preston's art in the 1940s away from the intense saturated colours and design orientation of her work in the 1920s and 1930s to the restricted ochres of Aboriginal painting thus recreating the urban environment through reference to the indigenous inspired vision which she considered central in her promotion of a modern and nationally relevant art.

    While much of Preston's work in the 1940s turned increasingly away from an urban vision and, inspired by her extensive travel across Australia and to Aboriginal communities and painting and carving sites, focused toward redefining the nation's landscapes, 'Manly Harbour Beach' provides a rare example of the artist's references to Aboriginal art within the metropolitan context. 'Manly Harbour Beach' is indicative of a group of works that were produced during the war years where the Preston adopted a faux-naive style, which, informed by the growing interest in the immediacy of children's art, was used by Preston to recount scenes of her everyday environment during the years of the Second World War. Her focus on localised experience within the context of international conflict is indicative of Preston's ongoing expression of nationalist content.

    Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 9 publications

Other works by Margaret Preston

See all 124 works