Grace Cossington-Smith 1892-1984
Grace Cossington Smith is regarded as one of the most important Australian artists of the twentieth century. She had a particular style that was brightly coloured and influenced by impressionist art, using patterns of colour side by side to create form, shadow and movement.
Many of her works are of Sydney life, showing the architecture and crowds of a bustling city, her paintings of the Sydney Harbour Bridge under construction, becoming particularly well known in later years. She also depicted many ordinary objects in domestic scenes, emphasizing the play of light through the careful placement of colour.
Her works were considered audacious and modern at the time she painted, and there was significant censure of her style in the media. But she was a confident and daring artist who was not afraid to follow her own way. Deborah Hart, senior curator at the National Gallery of Australia in 2005 states that ‘by the late 1920s, she just knew that colour was the thing that she was really on about, and she went for it… She did get a lot of criticism in the press, but she was very bold and she knew what she wanted.’1
Grace continued painting into her seventies and produced many still-lifes. These reflected her ‘striking sense of perspective, and great eye for detail..’2, continuing to use carefully arranged colour to produce vivid images.