O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism
O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism showcases the iconic art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith. Making Modernism draws together around thirty works by each artist from the breadth of their careers.
Born in the late nineteenth century, the three painters came of age during the 1910s and ’20s, decades of great social and cultural transition. While they were not connected by personal familiarity or direct correspondence, they were kindred spirits, rejecting the artistic conventions of the past and forging new ways of picturing the changing world.
United by their love of nature, O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed subjects from their immediate surroundings into distinct interpretations of place. O’Keeffe synthesised the forms and lines of the New Mexico high desert to share her experience of its vast and ancient landscape, while Preston articulated the primordial character of the native environment in her pursuit of a uniquely Australian aesthetic. Cossington Smith painted glowing and intimate landscapes based on views within easy reach of her semi-rural home in Sydney’s outer suburbs.
Image: Georgia O’Keeffe / Purple Hills Ghost Ranch – 2 / Purple Hills No II, 1934 / Oil on canvas affixed to masonite / Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Gift of The Burnett Foundation