Grace Cossintgon Smith is very well known in Australia, but I don't know how much of her is known overseas. I grew up with images of her paintings in my school art text books and cut outs of her paintings in my art diary, not to mention seeing her work regularly on display in the collection at the Art Gallery of NSW (Sydney) and the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra). She didn't begin painting until quite late in her life, and is now considered a pioneer of Post Impressionism in Australia.
"In the late 1940s Grace Cossington Smith regularly painted interiors. Among them were works focusing on the presence of objects – particularly chairs – that appear almost like portraits. As in her subsequent works the artist conveys the meeting of interior and exterior spaces, reflecting light and the natural world through windows and doorways.
By the mid-1950s she began to concentrate primarily on depicting the rooms of her home, Cossington. This was partly due to the fact that the artist’s much-loved sister Diddy had become ill and she wanted to spend more time with her. In the later works Cossington Smith came to fully realise her aim to express colour vibrant with light. As she said, ‘My chief interest I think has always been colour, but not crude flat colour. It must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it’. (Interview with Hazel de Berg, 1965, National Library of Australia)
In these late paintings Cossington Smith’s ability as a colourist came to the fore in unison with a sure sense of structure, reaffirming her long-held interest in architecture, domestic spaces and illuminated doorways in her early sketchbooks. Luminosity was expressed in her late interiors and still-life paintings in confident, square touches of pure colour. Decades after moving to the family home as a young artist, she was creating works that reveal the confidence of a mature painter at the height of her powers." ~ Grace Cossington Smith, A Retrospective Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia
Still Life with Jugs
Drapery - Chair and Window
Figure through Flowers
Interior with Wardrobe mirror
Landscape at Pentecost
The Lacquer Room
all images from National Gallery of Australia