Margret Preston, Parisian impressions.


Darragh Christie, 23 May 2020 · #

Harold Cazneaux ‘Margaret Preston at her home in Mosman [Portrait of Margaret Preston]’ 1924 gelatin silver photograph National Gallery of Australia Gift of Mrs L Hawkins 1987 more detail

Margaret Preston (nee McPherson) lived and exhibited works in Paris before war broke out. A good sample of her works are kept at the AGNSW. When viewing the following pictures in Paris I thought, briefly, about the story Margaret Preston and the healing arts. Particularly how she met and was inspired by (mainly French) ‘Modern’ artists.

Still Life, 1925 National Gallery of Australia. Oil on canvas

The following is an excerpt from that story:

More than one vision in art

Ms McPherson’s antipodean eyes were opened to Post-Impressionism;

Cézanne, Matisse, Kandinsky, Rouault, Picasso and Paul Gaugin influenced her work. She admired Gaugin in particular, describing him as a ‘magnificent colourist’.1

Like so many artists and theorists of the time, she developed fascination for Japonisme. She studied decorative arts and traditional design at the Musée Guimet, the Louvre, and the Victoria & Albert Museums. Of particular interest to her were the woodblock Ukiyo-e masterworks.

In her own words she

learnt slowly that there is more than one vision in art.

Influences on her latter work can be seen in the following pictures. One is a bit blurry. It reflects the haste required to cover so much material in the larger Parisian museums. They are an impression, fragments in time.


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