French, floral and female: a history of unAustralian art 1900-1930 (part 1)

Butler, Rex and Donaldson, A. D. S. (2010) French, floral and female: a history of unAustralian art 1900-1930 (part 1). EMAJ: Electronic Melbourne Art Journal, 1 5: 1-30.

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Author Butler, Rex
Donaldson, A. D. S.
Title French, floral and female: a history of unAustralian art 1900-1930 (part 1)
Journal name EMAJ: Electronic Melbourne Art Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1835-6656
Publication date 2010
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 1
Issue 5
Start page 1
End page 30
Total pages 30
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Fine Arts Network
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 410200 Visual Arts and Crafts
Formatted abstract
In this essay, which is another instalment in the authors' ongoing project of writing a history of 'UnAustralian' art in the 20th century, the period 1900 to 1930 is characterised in terms of three adjectives: 'French', 'floral' and 'female'. 'French' because so much of Australian art history took place in France, or in relation to France, during the period. 'Floral' because so much of this history can be understood in terms of flower painting, often included in still lifes and interiors, as opposed to the prevailing 'gum tree' nationalism enshrined after the War. 'Female' because, extending the existing accounts by women art historians, the entire period can be understood as feminine in character. This 'UnAustralian' account breaks with the importance attributed both to Norah Simpson bringing back books on Cubism in 1913 and to Grace Cossington-Smith's The Sock Knitter (1915) as the first signs of modernism in Australia, and to the War as an event that dramatically changed the course of Australian art history, either by sending Australian artists for the first time overseas or by explaining the prominence of women in Australian art after the War. To think Australian art 1900-1930 as 'French, floral and female' is to imagine a different account from the usual nationalist one, to reconceive a history that has remained fundamentally unaltered since William Moore's The Story of Australian Art (1934).
Keyword Australian art
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Wed, 02 Feb 2011, 14:49:23 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts