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Grace Cossington Smith
a retrospective exhibition

A National Gallery of Australia Travelling Exhibition

Art Gallery of New South Wales
3 November 2005 - 15 January 2006

Grace Cossington Smith 'The lacquer room' 1935-36. 

A major retrospective exhibition of the work of Grace Cossington Smith will open at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on the 3 November 2005. The Grace Cossington Smith exhibition will complement the major exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Pissarro: the first Impressionist. This exhibition is timely, considering that it is three decades since the artist's first retrospective, and will present the opportunity to see a substantial number of works from public and private collections. Curated by Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture at the National Gallery of Australia, the exhibition will reveal Cossington Smith as a highly adventurous artist who was one of this country's pioneering post-impressionists and one of the most brilliant artists of her generation.

Cossington Smith's life spanned nearly a century (1892-1984). The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will consider the public and private aspects of the work: the way that the artist was keenly attentive to the modern city environment and brought a deeply personal, intimate response to the subjects of her art.

Among the varied themes in her art are the metropolis and Sydney Harbour Bridge, portraits, still lifes, landscapes, religious and war subjects, orchestral concerts and ballet performances, and her late, great domestic interiors, infused with light.

With 100 of Cossington Smith's paintings, a number of sketch books held by the National Gallery of Australia will be on display, demonstrating how ideas, embryonic in her sketchbooks prior to the First World War, came to fruition several decades later.

In Cossington Smith's magnificent late interiors we are made aware of a lifetime of concentrated effort. We can also discover how deeply her work is informed by drawing in the architectural intricacies of rooms in which doors, mirrors and windows poetically integrate glimpses of her light-filled garden within the interior spaces. These works reveal Cossington Smith as a brilliant colourist. 'As she often said, "I want to paint colour vibrant with light", and in these works, this is exactly what she did', says Deborah Hart.

The Gallery has a great line up of Art After Hours speakers to complement Grace Cossington Smith including:

Wed 9 Nov, 6.30pm Julie McCrossin, broadcaster
Wed 16 Nov, 6.30pm Bill Leak, artist & author
Wed 23 Nov, 6.30pm Kylie Kwong, chef and author

All talks are free of charge. Details at

Proudly sponsored by MARSH. National Gallery of Australia Travelling Exhibitions. Australian airExpress

Grace Cossington Smith

On view:3 November 2005 - 15 January 2006
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney 2000
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or
toll free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am - 5pm 7 days a week
(closed Christmas Day)
Art After Hours until 9pm Wednesday evenings
Admission:$8 adults
$6 concessions, students, members
Media Information and Interviews:Media Information
Susanne Briggs
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Ph (02) 9225 1791 or 0412 268 320

IMAGE CREDIT: Grace Cossington Smith The lacquer room 1935-36. Oil on paperboard on plywood 74 x 90.8cm.
Collection Art Gallery of New South Wales. © Art Gallery of New South Wales