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Australian art

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Lyre bird feeding



Murray Griffin


1903 - 1992


Murray Griffin was born in Melbourne, and studied drawing and painting at the National Gallery School, Melbourne 1919-22. He was influenced by the colour woodcuts of the Austrian artist Norbertine Bresslern-Roth whose popular prints were frequently exhibited in the 1930s, including Australia. He experimented with linocutting as early as 1922, after learning to etch from Victor Cobb; his print 'The old lodge - Banyule' 1922 is amongst the earliest dated linocuts in Australia. Napier Waller and Griffin may have practised the technique together. However, it was not until 1932 that he began printmaking in earnest, rapidly expanding his technical skills, and establishing a solid reputation for his work. Griffin recognised that birds as a subject were commercially popular, and deliberately depicted them to encourage sales of his work. In 1933 his prints became larger. He was the only printmaker of the time to use the reduction process, a point he stressed in exhibition catalogues to emphasise the uniqueness of each edition as 'high art'. 'Lyre bird feeding' was first exhibited in 1935. Murray Griffin was appointed to teach etching at the National Gallery School, Melbourne by John Brack in 1965.

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




Media category


Materials used

linocut, printed in colour from multiple blocks on ivory laid paper




16.5 x 43.2 cm blockmark; 23.9 x 46.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed with monogram and dated in block to print l.l., gold ink ".../ 1935/ VMG". Signed and dated with printing date l.r., pencil "Murray Griffin 36".


Purchased 1984


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Murray Griffin

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 17 (colour illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 68 (colour illus.). 57

Hendrik Kolenberg, Animals on paper - from the Australian collection of prints, drawings and watercolours, Sydney, 1992. 15