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Joie de vivre



Mary Webb

Australia, France

1901 – 11 Dec 1958

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    130.0 x 96.8 cm stretcher; 132.2 x 99.3 x 2.4 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, red oil "Webb/ '58".

    Purchased 2011
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © Estate of Mary Webb

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Mary Webb

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Mary Webb, who worked in Sydney and London in the 1940s in a figurative expressionist mode, travelled to Europe in 1949 and subsequently became a significant Australian abstractionist and collagist in Paris in the 1950s. Despite an active exhibition schedule in Paris, where her work attracted significant review, Webb maintained contact with Sydney constructivists Frank Hinder, Ralph Balson and Grace Crowley over this decade.

    'Joie de vivre' was shown at Webb's solo exhibition at Galerie R Creuze in Paris, mounted only a month before her untimely death in December 1958. Webb's excursion into 'informel' abstraction in 'Joie de vivre', with its arresting sense of movement, pastel hues, and soft-edged cloud-like forms, represents the artist's most significant painterly achievement, and a singular contribution to Australian abstraction. This recent acquisition, newly rediscovered after over four decades in storage in Paris, is the most important of all currently known works by Webb.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications