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Australian art

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The artist and his model



Grace Crowley


28 May 1890 - 21 Apr 1979


The subject of Grace Crowley’s work is fellow artist Ralph Balson, painting a model on the roof terrace of Crowley’s studio in George Street, Sydney. Influenced by the cubist theories of French artist André Lhote, whose teaching emphasised the importance of subsuming colour into geometric structure, 'The artist and his model' reveals a disintegration of figurative forms and division of the pictorial space into decorative areas. It also signalled a growing commitment, shared by both artists, to complete abstraction.

In 1939, Crowley and Balson took part in the important 'Exhibition I' at David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney. With other participating artists – including Rah Fizelle, Frank Hinder and Eleonore Lange – Balson and Crowley collaborated in the 1930s as leaders of the second phase of the modern movement in Australia, developing the earlier ideas of Roland Wakelin, Roy de Maistre and others that dated from the beginning of World War I.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


86.0 x 54.0 cm board; 98.5 x 67.0 x 2.4 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black oil "GRACE CROWLEY/ -/38".


Gift of the artist 1975


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Grace Crowley

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Bruce Adams, Ralph Balson A Retrospective, Bulleen, Jul 1989, 8 (illus.), 9.

Candice Bruce, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, '"Built on Each Other" Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson', pg. 224-229, Brisbane, 1998, 224 (illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 126 (colour illus.), 300.

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'Dynamic Modernism', pg.228-239, Carlton, 2013, 237 (colour illus.), 238, 549, 558. plate no. 23.10

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 47 (colour illus.).

Elena Taylor, Grace Crowley: being modern, Canberra, 2006, 35, 36 (colour illus.), 37, 61.

Elena Taylor, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Collaborators: Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson', pg. 272-273, Sydney, 2013, 272, 273 (colour illus.), 311, 321.

Daniel Thomas AM (Curator), Project 4: Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. 23

Daniel Thomas, Symposium papers: Colour in art - revisiting 1919 & R-Balson, 'Keynote address: Modern Australia: Colour in art 1910s-1950s', pg. 3-11, Sydney, 2008, 9, 11, 35,.

Natalie Wilson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Grace Crowley / Ralph Balson / Frank Hinder / Margel Hinder', pg. 88-103, Sydney, 2002, 90 (colour illus.), 142, 147.