Grace Cossington Smith
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Grace Cossington Smith
Grace Cossington Smith AO OBE (22 April 1892 – 10 December 1984) was an Australian artist and pioneer of modernist painting in Australia and was instrumental in introducing Post-Impressionism to her home country. Examples of her work are held by every major gallery in Australia.
She was born Grace Smith, in Neutral Bay, Sydney, second of five children of London-born solicitor Ernest Smith and his wife Grace, née Fisher, who was the daughter of the rector of Cossington in Leicestershire. The family moved toThornleigh, New South Wales around 1890?. Grace attended Abbotsleigh School for Girls in Wahroonga 1905?–09 whereAlbert Collins and Alfred Coffey took art classes. From 1910–11 she studied drawing with Antonio Dattilo Rubbo. From 1912–14 she and her sister lived in England, staying with an aunt at Winchester where she attended drawing classes as well as classes at Speck in Germany, and was exposed to paintings by Watteau in Berlin. After returning to Sydney in 1914 she attended Dattilo Rubbo's painting classes and took an interest in modernist theories. Her The Sock Knitter(1915) was arguably Australia's first post-Impressionist painting.
She adopted the middle name "Cossington" in 1920. Her work was greatly respected by fellow-artists Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre. She exhibited with theRoyal Art Society of New South Wales from 1915, the Society of Artists from 1919 and Thea Proctor's Contemporary Group at Adrian Feint's Grosvenor Gallery from 1926–28, and from 1932 to 1971,at the Macquarie Galleries.
Her painting is characterized by individual, square brush strokes with bright unblended colours. Her many paintings of Sydney landscapes, still lifes, and interiors include "Kuringai Avenue" (1943), "Fruit in the Window" (1957), and, arguably her most famous painting, "The Lacquer Room" (1935). She received acclaim late in her career, and in 1973 a major retrospective exhibition of her work toured Australia.
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