30 April- 13 June 1999
Clarice Beckett (1887-1935), forgotten for three decades after her death, is now recognised as one of the great and highly individual painters in Australia landscape tradition. Beckett’s work tells a story of a bygone era, of Australia between the wars reflecting a more contemplative way of life. The exhibition was curated by Rosalind Hollinrake, who led the reappraisal of Beckett’s from the 1970s after finding a large number of paintings abandoned in a Victorian hayshed.
The 88 works in this exhibition are drawn from 49 public and private collections from around Australia and show the full spectrum of Beckett’s oeuvre for the first time, highlighting her unusual choice of subject matter: motifs of modern life such as the motor car, tram and telegraph pole and fascination with atmospheric conditions.
The evocative paintings by Beckett offered a view of Australia that celebrates modernity and the quiet beauty of the city and its suburbs. Her works capture the essence of city life, in particualr that of Melbourne, and more specifically that of the bayside suburbs, at a time between the World Wars when the advent of the modern age was signified by the motor car and the ubiquitous telegraph pole.
Curator: Rosalind Hollinrake
Organised and toured by the Ian Potter Museum of Art,University of Melbourne
image: CLARICE BECKETT Passing trams c.1931