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Cobbadah, New South Wales, Australia 1890 – Manly, New South Wales, Australia 1979

  • Movements: France 1926-29
  • Europe, United States of America 1960-61

Abstract painting 1947 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
paintings, oil on cardboard
Technique: oil on cardboard
Primary Insc: titled reverse support c.l., crayon "Abstract painting" inscribed reverse support c.l., pink crayon "Grace Crowley/30 guineas" inscribed reverse support l.r., pink crayon "227 George St" inscribed reverse support c.l., pink crayon "12312/B" ("B" is encircled) signed and dated lower right 'GRACE CROWLEY ./47'
60.7 h x 83.3 w cm
framed (overall) 66.0 h x 88.6 w x 2.5 d cm
Purchased 1959
Accession No: NGA 59.123


  • Between 1947 and 1953 Grace Crowley painted an extraordinary series of geometric abstract paintings, among the first in Australia. Abstract painting shows Crowley’s adventurous use of colour: vibrant pinks, blues and greens held together in a complex arrangement of overlapping planes. The entire composition is unified through the use of coloured lines that weave their way under and around the composition. Abstract painting has a jazz-like energy where dissonant elements are held within a dynamic rhythm.

    Born into a conservative pastoralist family from northern New South Wales, Crowley pursued an unconventional course in her life and art that saw her become one of the leaders of the modern movement in Australia. In 1930, after four years of study in Paris, Crowley returned to Sydney with a sophisticated knowledge of Cubism. Over the next decade she explored ever-increasing degrees of abstraction in her work, culminating in her breakthrough in the 1940s to a purely abstract art based on a universal language of geometry and colour.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008