Grey day in the ranges
Australia, England, France
29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963
Although Margaret Preston is known primarily for her paintings and woodblock prints of flowers and still life, a period spent living amidst bushland at Berowra in the late 1930s led her to concentrate on landscapes during the 1940s. At this time too, her interest and belief in the importance of Aboriginal art deepened, inspiring a reduction of her palette to earth-toned colours, simplification of form with strong black outlining, and use of dots and marks to signify physical details in the landscape.
As a result of her interest in Oriental painting and European modernism, Preston is recognised as perhaps the first artist to advocate the use of Aboriginal designs and motifs in the development of a modern national art - initially for domestic items and furnishings but later extended to colour, technique and subject matter in art.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001
oil on hardboard
51.0 x 50.7 cm board; 66.7 x 66.9 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "M Preston / 1942".
Not on display
© Margaret Rose Preston Estate, licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 16 exhibitions
Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition (1942), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Mar 1942–16 Apr 1942
One hundred years of Australian art, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1945–1946
Exhibition of Australian women painters, National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 1946–18 Aug 1946
Travelling Art Exhibitions 1952. Australian landscape painting:
The art of Margaret Preston, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 23 May 1980–22 Jul 1980
Aspects of Australian Figurative Painting 1942-1962: Dreams, Fears and Desires (The 5th Biennale of Sydney), S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 11 Apr 1984–17 Jun 1984
Seeing is believing - the art in photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1985–19 Jan 1986
1988 Australian Biennale: from the Southern Cross: a view of world art c.1940-88:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 18 May 1988–03 Jul 1988
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 04 Aug 1988–18 Sep 1988
Motif & Meaning: Aboriginal Influences in Australian Art 1930-1970:
- Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat 14 May 1999–25 Jul 1999
- Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide 19 Aug 1999–18 Sep 1999
- Gladstone Regional Art Gallery, Gladstone 29 Sep 1999–30 Oct 1999
- Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane 09 Dec 1999–16 Jan 2000
- Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Toowoomba 10 Feb 2000–26 Mar 2000
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Australian Collection Focus: Margaret Preston The brown pot 1940, I lived at Berowra 1941, Grey day in the ranges 1942, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 Sep 2001–03 Feb 2002
Margaret Preston retrospective:
Yin-Yang: China in Australia, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 08 Aug 2008–28 Sep 2008
dOCUMENTA (13), Documenta, Kassel, 09 Jun 2012–16 Sep 2012
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
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 32 publications
Aboriginal art', Look, 'Preston's Aboriginal inspiration: how Margaret Preston was influenced, pg. 16-17, Melbourne, Sep 2001, 16, 17 (colour illus.).
Ruth Burgers., Oz arts magazine [issue 6], 'Light in the forest', Wentworth Falls, 1993, 58.
Joanna Capon, Yin-yang : China in Australia, 'The influence of China on Australian Art', pg. 47-55, Sydney, 2008, 14, 15 (colour illus.).
Deborah Edwards, Art Monthly Australia, 'Margaret Preston: reviewing the landscape', pg. 19-23, Canberra, Dec 2002-Feb 2003, 21 (colour illus.), 22.
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 120 (colour illus.), 301.
Deborah Edwards, Australian Collection Focus: Margaret Preston The brown pot 1940, I lived at Berowra 1941, Grey day in the ranges 1942, 'An art for Australia, from Australians', pg. 3-9, Sydney, 2002, 4, 7,8, 6 (colour illus.).
Denise Mimmocchi and Deborah Edward, Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 1), 'Margaret Preston', pg. 100-107, Sydney, Sep 2005-Nov 2005, 107.
Hal Missingham., Art and Australia [series 5, vol. 1, no. 2], 'Margaret Preston', Sydney, Aug 1963, front cover (colour illus.).
Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 50 (illus.). cat.no. O.36
Barry Pearce, Look, 'A quiet love affair: private passion over 33 years gives birth to a book', pg. 26-29, Sydney, Sep 2014, 29 (colour illus.). extract
Margaret Preston., Exhibition of Australian women painters, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1946. cat.no. 26
Virginia Spate, Aspects of Australian figurative painting 1942-1962: dreams, fears and desires, 'Introduction', pg. 7-18, Sydney, 1984, 27, 91, 16 (colour illus.). cat.no. 15
dOCUMENTA (13): the book of books, 'Participants, biographies, and exhibited objects and works', pg. 674-725, Ostfildern, 2012, 712.
Motif & meaning: Aboriginal influences in Australian art, 1930-1970, Ballarat, 1999.
Art & Mind, Melbourne, 1998, 135 (colour illus.). plate no. 9.4
Seeing Australia: views of artists and artwriters, Annandale, 1994, 94 (illus.).
dOCUMENTA (13): das begleitbuch / the guidebook, 'Margaret Preston', pg. 170-171, Ostfildern, 2012, 170, 171 (colour illus.).
Introducing art: a first book on the history and appreciation of the visual arts, Melbourne, 1990, 225 (illus.).
Unknown (Director), The 1988 Australian Biennale: from the Southern Cross: a view of world art c.1940-88, "Exhibiting artists 57-275; List of works in the exhibition", pg. 276-282, Sydney, 1988, 225 (colour illus.), 281.
Unknown, Seeing is believing: the art in photography, Sydney, 1985. cat.no. 38; not paginated
Unknown, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 86. cat.no. O.16
Encyclopedia of Australian art (Vol.2, L-Z), Hawthorn East, 1984, 445, 635 (illus.).
Australian women artists 1840-1940, Collingwood, 1980, 128 (illus.), 175.
Art & Australia, 'The place where thought and action meet: dOCUMENTA (13)'s Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in conversation with Wes Hill', pg. 562-567, Sydney, Winter 2012, 564, 565 (colour illus.).
The black swan of trespass: the emergence of Modernist painting in Australia to 1944, Sydney, 1979, (colour illus.). plate III
The Australian Aboriginal heritage: an introduction through the arts, Sydney, 1973, 309 (colour illus.).
Margaret Preston, ‘An art for Australia from Australians 1940s-1950s', pg.173-250, Sydney, 2005, 188, 194, 199, 200, 202, 253, 259, 264, 201 (colour illus.), 265 (colour illus.).
The National Art Gallery of NSW: Australian landscape painting, Sydney, 1951. cat.no. 13
Unknown, Margaret Preston and William Dobell loan exhibition, Sydney, 1942. cat.no. 45
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 15.
Unknown, One hundred years of Australian art, Sydney, circa 1945. cat.no. 39
Unknown and Unknown, Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1942.