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O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

Major body of O’Keeffe work to come to Australia for the first time

Georgia O’Keeffe Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory 1938, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery are delighted to present O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe. Commencing in October 2016, this ground-breaking exhibition showcases the iconic art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.

The paintings of these three artists represent distinct modernist visions that express the identity and culture of their respective nations. The landscape and a sense of place were a tremendous source of inspiration for each of them.

While O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed highly individualised styles, the conceptual underpinnings of their work, their shared themes and their approaches to the portrayal of modern life underscore the broader story of how modernism evolved around the world.

Cody Hartley, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, said the Museum is thrilled to partner with the Art Gallery of NSW, Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Queensland Art Gallery to bring a major body of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work to Australia for the first time.

“We are proud to be supporting this exhibition, offering exceptional works from the Museum’s collection to facilitate this innovative study of global modernism via the parallels of O’Keeffe’s work with her Australian peers.”

Dr Michael Brand, director, Art Gallery of NSW said the multi-venue exhibition will not only introduce Australian audiences to one of America’s most innovative painters, but also bring fresh perspectives to the work of two of Australia’s best known and beloved artists.

“Preston and Cossington Smith, like O’Keeffe in America, have long been recognised for their central role in the development of modern art in Australia. The three artists are connected by their choice of subject, their experimentation with light, colour and form and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world,” Dr Brand said.

Kirsty Grant, director and CEO, Heide Museum of Modern Art said the exhibition, curated by Lesley Harding (Heide), Denise Mimmochi (AGNSW), Jason Smith (initiating curator) with Cody Hartley and Carolyn Kastner (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum), draws together approximately thirty masterpieces by each artist from the breadth of their careers, with major paintings from Preston and Cossington Smith on loan from public and private collections across Australia.

“In considering the similarities and distinctions in their art we aim to bring deeper understanding about modernism’s dispersal and reinvention as it developed beyond the metropolitan wellspring of Europe,” Grant said.

Making Modernism is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Gordon Darling Foundation.

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 12 October 2016, on display until 19 February 2017.

The exhibition will then tour to the Queensland Art Gallery from 11 March to 11 June 2017 and the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 1 July and 2 October 2017.

About the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was established in 1997 to preserve and advance the artistic legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe. The Museum is dedicated to developing appreciation of O’Keeffe’s remarkable oeuvre both nationally and internationally through exhibitions that provide new scholarship on her practice.

Media contacts

Simone Bird
Communications Manager
Art Gallery of New South Wales
+ 61 2 9225 1674
+ 61 498 002 321

Sue Curwood
Marketing & Communications Manager
Heide Museum of Modern Art
+ 61 3 9850 1500

Amelia Gundelach
Media Manager
Queensland Art Gallery
Development and Commercial Services
+ 61 7 3840 7162
+ 61 404 994 985

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum