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Flapper Theme: Boom & Bust

Artist: Margaret PRESTON
Birth/Death: 1875–1963

Title: Flapper

Credit Line: Purchased with the assistance of the Cooma-Monaro Snowy River Fund 1988. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

This painting is the work of a mature and confident artist. Margaret Preston was 50 years old when she painted Flapper in 1925. She was financially independent, well travelled and familiar with modern European art movements of the early 20th century.

In this portrait Preston provides no background or context for the subject. The quirky feather in the hat and the slightly raised upper hand suggest some life and movement, however, the figure appears to be cut out of dark tartan material, quite flat and static.

Notice how the lines of the palette create a pattern of horizontals and tapered verticals rather than following the contours of the body beneath. This interest in flattening the form possibly demonstrates Preston’s familiarity with post impressionist and cubist aesthetics.

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