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Australian art

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Portrait of Lucie Beynis



Grace Crowley


28 May 1890 - 21 Apr 1979


Completed on the eve of her return to Sydney following four years of study in France, 'Portrait of Lucie Beynis' depicts a professional model whom Crowley painted over a period of four mornings whilst attending L'Academie Lhote in Paris.

Crowley recounted, 'we were united in one belief, the constructive approach to painting, and this insistence of the abstract elements in building up a design was the keynote of teaching with Lhote and Gleizes ... we were discouraged from making merely a faithful record of the nude [model] ... the abstract elements in line, shape and colour were introduced in order to induce the student to construct from it a design within a given space'.

Lhote's modified version of Cubism was one in which the human figure is retained, held within a field of dissecting geometric planes and shafts of colour running through the body. This approach dominated Crowley's semi-abstract paintings during the thirties, until her departure into pure abstraction in the 1940s.


Other Title


Place where the work was made

Paris France



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas on hardboard


79.7 x 64.5 cm stretcher; 92.4 x 77.2 x 3.4 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, (pencil?) "GRACE CROWLEY [faint]". Not dated.


Purchased 1965

Accession number


Artist information

Grace Crowley

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 19 publications


Jude Adams, Barbara Hall and Jennifer Barber, Project 21: Women's images of women, Sydney, 1977. 12; Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 103 (colour illus.).

Janine Burke, Australian women artists 1840-1940, Collingwood, 1980, 52, 111 (colour illus.). plate no. 33

Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Moderns', pg. 103-104, Sydney, 2000, 104, 125 (colour illus.), 300.

Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 30 (illus.). 29

Anne Gray, Face: Australian portraits 1880-1960, Canberra, 2010, 98.

Lesley Harding, Cubism & Australian art, 'L'Esprit Nouveau 1913-1929', pg. 19-47, Melbourne, 2009, 40 (colour illus.).

Lois Hunter, The Australian art companion - A selection of influential artists, 'Grace Crowley', pg. 98-99, Balgowlah Heights, (1990), 98, 99 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 140 (colour illus.).

Terence Maloon, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'The pedagogy of modern art: the quest for modernity by Australian artists abroad', pg. 239-251, Sydney, 2013, 249 (colour illus.), 311.

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 45 (colour illus.).

Roslyn Russell and Bridget Guthrie (Curators), The view from 1919: a century of the Tamworth Regional Gallery collection, 'Women and modernism', pg. 20-23, Tamworth, 2019, 21 (colour illus.).

Jane Somerville, Look, 'Setting the record straight', pg. 15-16, Sydney, Mar 2007, 15 (colour illus.).

Elena Taylor, Grace Crowley: being modern, Canberra, 2006, 21 (colour illus.), 23, 31-32, 59.

Daniel Thomas AM (Curator), Project 4: Grace Crowley, Sydney, 1975. 14

Natalie Wilson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Grace Crowley / Ralph Balson / Frank Hinder / Margel Hinder', pg. 88-103, Sydney, 2002, 88. 89 (colour illus.), 142, 147.

Author Unknown, The Australian Womens Diary 1995, 1994, 49, 50 (colour illus.). 77. Entry by Janine Burke. Biography by Janine Burke, p. 337-338.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Apr 1965, (illus.).

Grace Crowley's contribution to Australian modernism and geometric abstraction, 'Paris and André Lhote', pg. 33-35, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010, 54, 56 (illus.). figure 2.2