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Australian art

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Detail of Ormiston



Judy Cassab

Australia, Austria, Hungary

15 Aug 1920 - 03 Nov 2015


This is one of the earliest paintings made by Judy Cassab following her first visit to Central Australia in May 1959, painted in the artist’s Sydney studio from a similar-sized oil study made at Ormiston Gorge in the Northern Territory. It was purchased by the Gallery in the same year from an exhibition of Cassab’s work in London; a review in The Times likened her style with an English tendency to ‘equate (the landscape’s) small forms with its large ones’, in the manner of Graham Sutherland.

Her visit to Ormiston Gorge was recorded in her diary: "…. around me were marble piazzas, surreal shapes in mauves and purple and pink and giant pebbles of the same hue. My eyes watered from the brilliance of the stripes and dots on those marble rocks, washed and polished smooth by waters that disappeared thousands of years ago. Let me add that the verticals and horizontals are so shifted that, although I knew I was straight, it gave the optical illusion of being crooked, and added to the unreality of the walk. Everything stretches about in abundance and magnitude and volume and quantity, massive, intense, noble, extravagant, like every part of the Territory".

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2015


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


69.0 x 69.0 cm board; 80.0 x 80.0 x 3.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, light orange oil "Cassab/ 1959".


Purchased 1960


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Judy Cassab

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Mark Aronson and Bruce Dyer, Judicial review of administrative action, Pyrmont, 2000, front cover (colour illus.).

Brenda Niall, Judy Cassab: a portrait, Sydney, 2005, 154-159.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Times, 'Australian landscapes', London, circa Oct 1959, unknown. Exhibition review; Collection of the National Gallery of New South Wales

Judy Cassab (1959), London, 1959, (illus.). 28