Grace Cossington Smith
1892 - 20 Dec 1984
From the late 1950s Cossington Smith embarked on her last series of paintings whose subjects were drawn from the rooms and spaces around her home. With their mosaic-like surface of broken brushwork evoking a sense of light radiating through colour, Cossington Smith transformed her unassuming subject matter into sites of extraordinary energy and majestic form. These paintings became her crowning achievement and sealed her reputation as one of Australia's greatest colourists.
In this work her technique is at its most assured. She combines, in small dabs of unblended colour, richly saturated hues of greens, yellows, blues and reds. Setting her subject in a tilted compositional frame there is a strong feel for an intensely personalised portrayal of the world as seen through the domestic interior.
oil on hardboard
121.9 x 91.5 cm board; 138.3 x 108.1 x 4.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, black oil "G. Cossington Smith 56".
Signed u.l. corner verso on board, pen and black ink on white adhered label ".../ Grace Cossington Smith".
Gift of Graham and Judy Martin 2014, assisted by the Australian Masterpiece Fund
© Estate of Grace Cossington Smith
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1957), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 14 Aug 1957–31 Aug 1957
Recent Australian paintings (1958), Farmer's Blaxland Gallery, Sydney, 1958–1958
Grace Cossington Smith (1973-74):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 15 Jun 1973–15 Jul 1973
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 06 Sep 1973–04 Oct 1973
- Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth 06 Dec 1973–02 Jan 1974
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 11 Jan 1974–10 Feb 1974
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 26 Mar 1974–28 Apr 1974
A tribute to Grace Cossington Smith, St James Turramurra, Turramurra, 21 Nov 1975–23 Nov 1975
Autumn exhibition 1978: recent acquisitions, Joseph Brown Gallery, Australia, 07 Apr 1978–20 Apr 1978
Sotheby's: Important Australian & international art, Intercontinental Sydney, Sydney, 25 Nov 2014–25 Nov 2014
O'Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism:
- Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne 12 Oct 2016–19 Feb 2017
- Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane 11 Mar 2017–11 Jun 2017
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 01 Jul 2017–02 Oct 2017
Referenced in 9 publications
Bruce Adams, Grace Cossington Smith, 'Interior in yellow: 1951-1971', pg. 133-155, Sydney, 1990, 142 (colour illus.), 188. plate no. 101
Bruce Adams, Hemisphere: An Asian-Australian Monthly, 'Innovator in a garden studio', pg. 2-8, Sydney, Jun 1973, 4, 5 (colour illus.).
Michael Brand, Look, 'From the Gallery director', pg. 11, Sydney, May 2015, 11, 26, 27 (colour illus.), 28.
Farmer's Blaxland Gallery, Farmer's Blaxland Gallery: Recent Australian Paintings, 'Catalogue', pg. 1-8, Australia, 1958, n.pag.. cat.no. 22; priced 70 guineas
Society of Artists, Society of Artists: Spring Exhibition 1957, 'Catalogue', pg. 19-22, Sydney, 1957, 19. cat.no. 14; priced 70 guineas
Smith & Singer (Editor), Sotheby's Australia, Important Australian and International Art, Sydney, Nov 2014, 34, 35 (colour illus.), 36, 37. lot no. 14; estimated price $250,000- 350,000
St James Turramurra, A tribute to Grace Cossington Smith, 'Catalogue', Turramurra, Nov 1975, n.pag.. cat.no. 22
Daniel Thomas, Grace Cossington Smith, 'Illustrations', pg. 13-, Sydney, 1973, 55 (illus.), 67. cat.no. 68
Author Unknown, Autumn Exhibition (Joseph Brown Gallery 1979), 'Catalogue', Melbourne, Apr 1979, 85 (colour illus.). cat.no. 85