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Australian art

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The goddess and the aspidistra



Adrian Feint


29 Jun 1894 - 25 Apr 1971


Adrian Feint was an illustrator, designer, printmaker and painter whose reputation was first established through his graphic work. He was a skilled book and magazine illustrator, creating covers for 'Art in Australia' and the 'Home' among other publications, and produced a significant oeuvre of bookplates, for which he became internationally known, with a well-received exhibition of them held at the Library of Congress, Washington in 1930. Feint made etchings in the early 1920s but later became more interested in woodcuts and wood engravings, the first of which he exhibited in 1927 while a student of design with Thea Proctor.

Feint made two versions of 'The goddess and the aspidistra', in which decorative domestic objects have been arranged in an elegant and witty montage; the Gallery has the key and colour woodblocks for another version that is slightly larger in size, with subtle differences in imagery, such as the cloud forms in the sky. The print echoes the self-consciously tasteful imagery of Proctor's eclectic still life compositions, although it was made several years after they quarrelled, and may be a pointed comment on her work, rather than an affectionate homage.

from Anne Ryan, 'Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, Sydney 2007




Media category


Materials used

wood engraving, printed in black ink on cream Japanese (kozo) paper




20.5 x 17.9 cm blockmark; 26.8 x 22.1 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., pencil "Adrian Feint". Not dated.


Purchased 1987


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Adrian Feint

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Frank Weitzel: tableau of the modern city', pg. 164-169, Sydney, 2013, 168 (illus.), 317, 324.

Grahame Kime., Heaven on earth: Visions of arcadia, 'Visions of Arcadia', Gymea, 2005. List of works; not paginated

Anne Ryan, Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 76 (colour illus.). 114

Maria (Connie) Tornatore-Loong, Japan in Sydney: Professor Sadler & modernism, 1920-30s, 'Case study two: Paul Haefliger and the art of Japan', pg. 113-119, Sydney, 2011, 136. 23