Jean Bellette's interest in classical mythological subjects as conveyors of societal values and desires placed her outside the mainstream of modernist production. While consistent with the principles of her broader practice, her still life paintings reveal her exploration of formalist problems and demonstrate her use of modernist techniques such as the creation of ambiguous space and geometric simplification of forms.
'Coastal still life' is one of a number of still lifes Bellette produced during the 1950s, portraying an arrangement of vessels with fruit and flowers. Strong shadows are cast enhancing the geometic qualities of the objects and their rich tonal relationships. The background presents an unresolvable space with a hazy sky amid rectangular, cubist-inspired forms used as compositional devices by the artist.
oil on hardboard
85.8 x 109.8 cm board; 107.6 x 132.6 x 7.3 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, red oil "J Bellette". Not dated.
Signed u.r. verso, black oil ".../ Jean Bellette".
Not on display
Shown in 7 exhibitions
The Sydney Group (1955), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 1955–1955
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1955, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Feb 1956–29 Feb 1956
The Arts Festival of the Olympic Games (1956), National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne, 18 Nov 1956–15 Dec 1956
Jean Bellette retrospective (2004-2005):
- Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst 10 Dec 2004–16 Jan 2005
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks 12 Mar 2005–15 Apr 2005
- University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane 06 May 2005–12 Jun 2005
- Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington 12 Jul 2005–28 Aug 2005
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 10 Nov 2005–18 Dec 2005
Referenced in 5 publications
Grahame Kime., Flora: still life moving fast, 'Flora still moving fast', Gymea, 2008, (colour illus.). not paginated
Renée Porter, Margaret Olley: painter, peer, mentor, muse, 'Margaret Olley: a celebration of life in paint', pg. 8-36, The Rocks, 2017, 60, 61 (colour illus.), 112.
Christine France, Unknown and Unknown, Jean Bellette retrospective, Sydney, 2004, 72.
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1955 National Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney, 1956, 5. cat.no. 2
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, The Sydney Group (1955), Sydney, 1955. cat.no. 2