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Grace Cossington Smith

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Grace Cossington Smith
Audio: 2 minutes

My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not a flat crude colour, it must be colour within colour; it has to shine.

I think my chief interest now is interiors. I used to be very fond of the bush but now I can’t manage to go out in the bush.

The large painting which I have in the Wills art prize competition is an interior. It’s a room with a wardrobe and a bed and a carpet but the chief thing to me was the yellow walls, so that is why I call it Interior in Yellow. It was a very exciting thing to do. I wanted to express the forms in colour with the light because the whole thing is meant to express an interior with the light.

I use squares in the way I paint, not from a conscious way but it came to me naturally because I feel in that way that light can be put into the colour. whereas just to put colour on to the surface in a flat way, I feel that it gives it a dead look.

The room is in my own home here and the sunlight did not come in in a definite way but the whole room seemed to be full of light, which is what I want to do more than the actual sunlight. I feel that even the shadows are a subdued light and they must have light in them as well as the light parts.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Grace Cossington Smith is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related information

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Modern Australian Women

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

Close contemporaries, Thea Proctor, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith were frequently sources of inspiration and irritation to each other. 

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Portrait of a Modernist

Magazine article by Dimity Goldie, 2003

The National Portrait Gallery acquired the self-portrait by Grace Cossington Smith in 2003.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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