Art Deco Delights on Display

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The first photograph shows a Cloche hat (circa 1925) made of rayon, silk organza, sequins and mercerised cotton.  The designer is unknown.  I saw it displayed in the Ipswich Art Gallery exhibition ‘The World Turns Modern’.  It is from the Julian Robinson Collection on loan from National Gallery of Australia.

ART DECO is the predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterised by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colours and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.

Below is my small sample of Art Deco on display.


Ipswich Art Gallery Art Deco Lady with Dogs

The first painting to draw my eye was Christian Waller in her garden with her dogs.
Artist :  Napier Waller (Penshurst, Australia 1893 – Melbourne, Australia 1972)
Title :  ‘Christian Waller with Baldur, Undine and Siren at Fairy Hills 1932’
Materials and technique :  Oil and tempera on canvas mounted on hardboard.
Dimensions :  121.5 h x 205.5 w cm, overall frame 1315 h x 2165 w x 60 d mm (big!)
Purchased :  NGA 1984.

“The frieze-like formality of the painting and its cool, crisp colours underscore the demise of the Waller marriage.”  Such a sad note, and I wonder who got the Airedale terriers?


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Inlaid wood was all the rage and this match box (in book form) took my fancy.  As the information card states, it comprises rose mahogany, yellow wood, rose sheoak, sandpaper and red cedar.  Rare commodities nowadays.


This stunning bronze cast (in relief) features a woman wrangling two horses; I liked the strength, energy and symbolism of this piece.  Jean Broome-Norton’s renaissance woman is not life-size but the plinth gives it height and power.


The modern front doors of award-winning Ipswich Art Gallery, and inside the original building has been restored and extended.  The shipping and travel poster hints at women enjoying greater freedom, the right to vote and travelling unchaperoned.  The image of the independent woman became popular in graphic design for posters and portraiture.


Ipswich Art Gallery IMAGE Hilda Rix Nicholas Une Australienne 1926
This painting appears on gallery advertising posters and epitomises the era.
IMAGE: Hilda Rix Nicholas ‘Une Australienne’ 1926.

Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 2014.
© Bronwyn Wright.


Ipswich Art Gallery Art Deco Red Teapot and Teacups

Unfortunately my photographs of etchings, square teapots and Lalique glassware did not work due to the lighting.  Pictured above is a red Art Deco tea-set of stunning design, quite petite, which may not have been easy to sip from if you were feeling nervous at a polite society soirée.


Left photo :  In a side gallery, I viewed ‘Cover Story: Queensland Arts Council Cover Art and Poster Collection 1981 to 2008’ displaying commissioned work by leading Australian artists and illustrators.  From rough sketches to finished art, it was fascinating to see such big names especially in children’s literature, for example Graeme Base, and my favourite Alison Lester and her 1991 on-tour directory cover.

Right Photo :  Upstairs in the heritage gallery, I just had to take a photo of this wonderful 1895 miner’s brooch which I presume was designed for a man but it is small and delicate.  Made of 15ct gold, it may have been used as a tie pin, and the case is about the size of a snuff box.


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Time for a cuppa at the Post Office Café.  I was impressed how the colour and table setting matched the Art Deco theme without really trying.  The proprietor of the café told us that she was sick of washing the tablecloths and they were being replaced with inlaid lacquered tabletops.  Shame, but the sweet treats were delicious.


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The view outside had interesting angles and contrasts; the Post Office Café courtyard, the umbrella, the modern buildings and above, as if floating, the original Ipswich Post Office clock tower, circa 1890.


If you are interested in the Art Deco exhibition, get in quick, it closes this weekend!

07 Sep 2019 – 27 Oct 2019

“Comprised entirely of works selected from the National Gallery of Australia collection, this exhibition provides superb examples of the diverse expressions of Art Deco.”

Gretchen Bernet-Ward