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Australian art

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Wet afternoon



Ethel Spowers


1890 - 1947


After briefly attending art school in Paris, Ethel Spowers undertook the full course in drawing and painting at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1911 to 1917. In 1921 she returned to Europe, and studied at the Regent Street
Polytechnic, London and the Académie Ranson, Paris. Her work changed considerably from 1929, when she briefly studied linocut printmaking with Claude Flight at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, London. The linocuts she made under Flight’s tutelage show a modernist movement and rhythm.

This print was exhibited in London in 1930, when impressions were acquired by the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.




Media category


Materials used

linocut, printed from four blocks on thin ivory laid tissue




23.9 x 20.2 cm image (irreg.); 31.1 x 23.1 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "E.L. Spowers. 1930.".


Purchased 1968


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ethel Spowers

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 14 publications


Michaela Boland, The Australian, 'Suddenly, the world wants Spowers', n.pag., Canberra, 19 Dec 2011, n.pag.. NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Janine Burke, Australian women artists 1840-1940, Collingwood, 1980, 148 (illus.), 180. plate no. 75; Collection of National Gallery of Victoria

Helen Campbell, Colour, rhythm, design: wood & lino cuts of the 20s & 30s, 'Introduction', pg. 2, Sydney, 2010, 14 (colour illus.).

Stephen Coppel, Linocuts of the machine age: Claude Flight and the Grosvenor school, 'The Australians: Dorrit Black, Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme', pg. 65-68, England, 1995, (colour illus.), 66, 67, 170 (illus.), 171. plate 30; 14; NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Nicholas Draffin, Australian woodcuts and linocuts of the 1920s and 1930s, South Melbourne, 1976, 14, 44 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Daphne Wallace, Margo Neale, Victoria Lynn and Sandra Byron, Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1995. no catalogue numbers; not paginated

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 64 (colour illus.), 65. 53

Susan McCulloch, Alan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs, The new McCulloch's encyclopedia of Australian art, Carlton, 2006, 903 (colour illus.). NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression.

Steven Miller, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Sex, drugs and modern art: the Sydney galleries', pg. 174-183, Sydney, 2013, 177 (colour illus.), 316, 324.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'What's on elsewhere', pg. 44, Sydney, Sep 2012, 44 (colour illus.).

Maria (Connie) Tornatore-Loong, Japan in Sydney: Professor Sadler & modernism, 1920-30s, 'The remarkable Professor Sadler: Japan, Sydney and Australian modernism', pg. 7-49, Sydney, 2011, 6 (colour illus.), 28, 137. 39

Anna Waldmann, Project 39 - Women's Imprint, Sydney, 1982, (illus.). no catalogue numbers; not paginated

Helen Whitty, Accessories and adornment, South Yarra, 2000, 18 (colour illus.). children's activity book

Kenneth Wilkinson (Editor), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 77], Sydney, Nov 1939, 65 (illus.).