Dorrit Black (1891 - 1951)
Corner of the Gardenc. 1936
colour linocut on thin oriental laid paper; printed from five blocks in yellow ochre, vermilion, viridian, cobalt blue, grey
25.9 x 30.8cm
The Estate of Edith Lawrence (Edith Lawrence was the life-partner of Claude Flight. Flight founded the Grosvenor School of Modern Art with Iain MacNab, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews, and taught there from 1926-1930. The Grosvenor School artists include Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews, Eileen Mayo, Lill Tschudi, Ethel Spowers, Dorrit Black, and Eveline Symes)
Private collection, Sydney
Dorrit Black is known as a pioneer of Australian modernism. She is also known for her progressive artistic practice, which was well versed in modern and cubist movements that were taking place in London and Paris in the late 1920s. It was after her European travels to both cities between 1927 and 1929 that Black returned as an accomplished modernist linocut artist, exhibiting her first solo show of cubist-inspired works at Macquarie Galleries, Sydney in 1930.
Significant to note prior to the European turning point of her career were her works that reflected her inspiration of modernist and cubist artistic ideals at the time. Before going to study modernist prints with Claude Flight at Iain MacNab’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art, London in 1927; and then going to study cubism at Andre Lhote’s academy in Paris, Corner of the Garden was created. The linocut is a quintessential reflection of Black’s inspirations for modernist and cubist forms. Printing from five blocks Black was able to establish a multi-dimensional composition of a garden through the use of hard edge geometrical shapes speaking strongly to cubist constructs. The artwork marks a significant starting point of Black’s career in linocut printing. She produced linocuts from about 1927 to about 1951 but most intensively during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
In 1931 Dorrit Black established the Modern Art Centre Margaret Street, Sydney, a commercial art gallery, which she ran through to 1933. Black gave lessons in linocuts at the Modern Art Centre and assisted Claude Flight in the promotion of the artistic medium in England.
The Paris Hat1938
colour linocut on paper
28 x 23cm
The Estate of Edith Lawrence, thence by descent;
Tennants Auctioneers, Yorkshire, UK, The Summer Fine Art Sale, 22 July 2016, Lot 872
Private collection, Melbourne
Note: Edith Lawrence was the life-partner of Claude Flight. Flight founded the Grosvenor School of Modern Art with Iain MacNab, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews, and taught there from 1926-1930. The Grosvenor School artists include Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews, Eileen Mayo, Lill Tschudi, Ethel Spowers, Dorrit Black, and Eveline Symes.
Modern Linocuts, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England, 1939, Cat. No. 8
Dorrit Black: Unseen Forces, AGSA 2014
The Orchestra Pit, Theatre Royalc. 1935
22 x 17cm
The Estate of Dorrit Black;
Ruth Goble (niece of Dorrit Black);
Ghillian Sullivan (great-niece of Dorrit Black);
Private collection, Sydney
Featuring the orchestra pit of the now demolished Theatre Royal in Adelaide, this exquisite watercolour captures the drama and intimate gestural relationship between the musicians and thier conductor. From a generation of female artists that include the likes of Grace Cossington-Smith and Margaret Preston, Black rebelled against social and familial expectation to pursue a career in art, resulting in a body of iconic Australian prints and paintings.