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Australian art

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Coastal still life



Jean Bellette

Australia, Spain

1908 - 16 Mar 1991


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.




Media category


Materials used

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".


Purchased 1955


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jean Bellette

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


Penelope Curtin and Tansy Curtin, Blooms and brushstrokes: a floral history of Australian art, 'Flowers A-Z: Daisy', pg. 60-65, Mile End, 60, 64 (colour illus.), 193.

David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, The Sydney Group (1955), Sydney, 1955. 2

Christine France, Amanda Beresford and Barbara Hall, Jean Bellette retrospective, Sydney, 2004, 72.

Grahame Kime., Flora: still life moving fast, 'Flora still moving fast', Gymea, 2008, (colour illus.). not paginated

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1955 National Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney, 1956, 5. 2

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.