Tuesday, August 1, 2017


French  kisses all round  
As part of Queensland's 1959  Centenary Year celebrations it would not have been out of place  for the   Queensland  Art  Gallery  to have  run  an exhibition of British paintings . After all , the state had been named after Queen   Victoria .

 Surprisingly enough , it  organised  an  exhibition of   French  art  , the  worn   catalogue  for  which , seen here , from  the  collection of our  bowerbird  art  correspondent ,  Ponsonby  Willis .

The show contained  paintings  from   diverse  sources - overseas  and  within  Australia , galleries  and  individuals . Nine , including an important Monet and   two   Picassos (described as being of  the  School of  Paris, despite he  being  Spanish  ) ,  were  provided  by  an  Australian  living  in Paris , Mrs  Louise  B. M. Hanson-Dyer .   She   arranged   for   friends ,  Monsieur  and Madame   Rene  Varin  , of  the  French  Embassy , London ,   to  lend a  Monet ,  London  Bridge .
The  ALP   federal  leader  of  Australia  at the time , Dr  H. V. Evatt  , and  his wife, of Canberra,    contributed  a  mixed  bag - two heads of a girl by  Marie Laurencin  ( 1885-1956 ), her  work described as  unashamedly feminine , proud  of being born  in Paris, a lover of luxury,who  disliked  long speeches  and  compliments. Asked to describe herself , she responded : "  Eats quickly, walks quickly , lives  quickly . Paints  very  slowly ."
 A     Modigliani  portrait of   American artist    Morgan  Russell  (1886-1953), a founder of synchronism  , a style  of  abstract  painting  that  contributed to the  rise of  Modernism,  also  came  from  the  Evatts  .  Russell,  a cross dresser  , twice married , who studied at  Matisse's art school , frequented  Gertrude Stein's salon  and mixed with  Picasso  and  Rodin , held  exhibitions in Paris and   New York .
Lady  Elisabeth Murdoch , of Melbourne , Rupert Murdoch's mother , provided  an oil on panel , Holiday, by  Pierre  Bonnard  (1867-1947) , influenced by Degas, Lautrec  and Japanese painters .  Her husband , Sir  Keith  Murdoch (1886-1952)  , as a trustee and  then chairman  of  trustees of the   National Gallery of Victoria   and  editor of the   Melbourne Herald ,   did much to promote visual   arts in  Australian.   
Lady  Lloyd Jones and her  son , Charles , of  the  David Jones   department  store fame  , Sydney,  lent   a  Utrillo    painting and a   canvas  by Moise Kisling, who served in the French Foreign Legion in WWl and went to America  and established a studio in Hollywood  where he painted  portraits of famous actresses  and   fashionable women .
Art dealer and  speed demon Kym Bonython of Adelaide threw in  a tapestry by  naturalised  French citizen Mathieu Mategot.
Of  note was an early Still Life With Fish  by  Vincent  van Gogh .