The artist and his model
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.
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
© Reproduced with permission of Grace Crowley Estate
Where the work was made
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Exhibition I, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 17 Aug 1939–02 Sep 1939
Balson, Crowley, Fizelle, Hinder:
Project 4 - Grace Crowley (1975), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 May 1975–08 Jun 1975
Aspects of Australian art: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1976, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976–1977
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Sydney studios, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 14 Aug 2004–26 Sep 2004
Grace Crowley: being modern:
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 23 Dec 2006–06 May 2007
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 27 Jul 2007–28 Oct 2007
- Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor 21 Dec 2007–17 Feb 2008
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 19 Mar 2008–18 May 2008
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 14 Jun 2008–21 Sep 2008
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 02 Oct 2008–23 Nov 2008
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
The View from 1919, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth, 01 Jun 2019–28 Jul 2019
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. cat.no. 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.