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Australian art

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Western Australian gum blossom



Margaret Preston

Australia, England, France

29 Apr 1875 - 28 May 1963


'Western Australian gum blossom' is one of a group of paintings by Margaret Preston from the late 1920s, remarkable for their simplicity of design and restrained use of colour. Preston believed that the best subjects for modern art were to be found in everyday life. This, combined with her commitment to a peculiarly 'national art', encouraged her use of Australian native flowers, whose distinctive shapes and colours could be ably expressed in her tightly structured still lifes. The dark outlines and flattened, simplified forms echo the woodcuts she was making at the time.




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


55.3 x 46.0 cm stretcher; 55.0 x 44.7 cm sight; 68.4 x 58.1 x 4.0 cm frame :

0 - Whole, 54.6 x 44.5 cm, SIGHT DIMENSION

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "1928 Margaret Preston".


Purchased 1978

Accession number


Artist information

Margaret Preston

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 26 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2006, Sydney, 2006, 6 (colour illus.).

Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 39 (colour illus.), 85, 86. O.8

Elizabeth Butel, Margaret Preston: the art of constant rearrangement, Ringwood, 1985, 34, 39 (colour illus.), 85. O.8

Katrina Cashman, Margaret Preston in Mosman, Mosman, 2002. not paginated

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Curator), dOCUMENTA (13): the book of books, 'Participants, biographies, and exhibited objects and works', pg. 674-725, Ostfildern, 2012, 712.

Chris Deutscher, Australian modern masters and 19th & 20th century Australian and International Fine Art: Fine Art auction 3 & 4 May 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 98. reference to work in association with lot 61 'Australian gum blossom' painted in 1929; colour illus. of lot 61 on pg. 99

Rob Ditessa, Artist's palette, 'Icons on show', pg. 54-59, Sydney, 2000, 58 (colour illus.).

Mary Eagle, Australian Modern Painting Between the Wars 1914-1939, Sydney, 1989, 84.

Deborah Edwards and Rose Peel, Margaret Preston: Catalogue raisonné of paintings, monotypes and ceramics, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). Artworks: paintings 1928.

Deborah Edwards, Art and Australia (Vol. 43, No. 1), 'Margaret Preston', pg. 103-107, Sydney, Sep 2005-Nov 2005, 104 (colour illus.), 105.

Deborah Edwards, Margaret Preston, 'Transitions 1920s', pg. 61-150, Sydney, 2005, 127, 128, front dust jacket (colour illus., detail), 129 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 119 (colour illus.), 301.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 139 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Light fantastic', pg. 11, Sydney, 02 Sep 2000, 11 (colour illus.). NOTE: page 11 of Spectrum lift-out.

John McDonald, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Margaret Preston', pg. 16-27, Sydney, 2000, 23, 24 (colour illus.).

Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Still-life as laboratory table', pg. 198-213, Sydney, 2013, 200, 205 (colour illus.), 315, 323.

Denise Mimmocchi, Look, 'Thoroughly modern', Sydney, Jul 2017-Aug 2017, 42 (colour illus.).

Ian North, The art of Margaret Preston, South Australia, 1980, 38 (illus.), 48 (illus.). O.21

Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from public and private collections, Sydney, 2000. Catalogue entry appears in inserted list to printed catalogue

Barry Pearce, Fifteen decades of Australian paintings, Sydney, 1981, colour illus.. not paginated; 10

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'The art that made me: Reg Mombassa', Sydney, Nov 2015, 13.

Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1928), Sydney, 1928, (illus.). 142; note: 'Not for Sale'; not paginated

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Cornucopia: Margaret Preston's floral art lives! and other events', pg. 38-39, Sydney, Jul 2005, 39 (colour illus.).

Martin Terry, Masterpieces of Australian Painting, Sydney, 1984, 80, 81 (colour illus.).

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, 'New Australia', pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 25.

Robert Whitehead (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Margaret Preston: Art and life', Sydney, 12 Aug 2005-18 Aug 2005, 27 (illus.).