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Australian art Modern Women

Women artists came to the fore as Australian modernists during the 1920s and 1930s.  This was an era of industrialisation and modernisation in Australian cities and a number of significant women artists who had studied or travelled overseas returned to Australia at this time.  These artists brought with them an understanding of European Post-Impressionism and Cubism, as well as a renewed interest in printmaking. 

Many women artists were interested in depicting the modernisation of their cities.  A particularly favoured subject was the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge - a symbol of progress and modernity.  The bold shapes, angles, lines and of the Bridge can be seen in the paintings of Grace Cossington Smith and the prints of Jessie Traill and Adelaide Perry.  Margaret Preston was one of Australia’s most outspoken exponents of modernism and is well known for her paintings and relief prints.  Preston, like many artists from this time, including Cossington Smith and Kathleen O’Connor, gave new energy to the still life, portraiture and landscape.