Important Australian + International Fine Art
1 September 2010

Grace Cossington Smith

(1892 - 1984)

oil on composition board

61.0 x 34.5 cm

signed and dated lower left: G. Cossington Smith 46.
signed and inscribed verso: Kitchen Interior / Grace Cossington Smith

$50,000 - 70,000
Sold for $60,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 16 - 1 September 2010, Sydney

Macquarie Galleries, Sydney
Mavis Chapman, Sydney
Private collection, Melbourne
Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney
Thence by descent
Private collection, London


Grace Cossington Smith Survey Exhibition 1919 – 1971, Painters Gallery, Sydney, 8 – 26 September 1987 and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 7 – 24 October 1987, cat. 30, fig. 17 (illus. in exhibition catalogue) (labels attached verso)


‘Grace C. Smith Exhibition', Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 1947, p. 9

Catalogue text

The paintings of Grace Cossington Smith stand alone in Australian art. Like her name, they are full of grace, appealing in their elegance of colour and a sense of thanksgiving that pervades all her art. Their mood is one of joy expressed with a feeling of warm response to the motifs which she records so affectionately in paint. As in Kitchen Interior 1946, her subjects are drawn from the familiar - of teacups on a tray, a bowl of flowers, a lounge or bedroom interior. Their everyday ordinariness, however, is transformed by the most radiant of colours, especially golden yellows reflecting something of the sparkle of sunlight seen and felt, and metaphorically as an expression of joy. Her world may be that of the everyday, but her art is on a much higher plane. In reviewing her September 1947 exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries, the critic for the Sydney Morning Herald referred to her art 'which holds the fire of religion, and a lyricism which obscurely recalls Blake in "Corner of the Room" and "Kitchen Interior."1 For Smith, the intimate, be it a still life, garden or interior scene, inspires those quiet moments of reflection and joy which she generously shares with her viewer. Harry Tatlock-Miller in the Sydney Sun wrote, 'Life, reflected in the paintings of Grace Cossington Smith, is a golden morning.'2 What could rival Golden Morning 1946 purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, from the 1947 solo show, Way to the Studio 1957 in the collection of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery, and Door into the Garden 1959 at the Bendigo Art Gallery? Significantly, she used the titled Interior in Yellow for her 1965 painting in this series now in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

No other Australian still life painting has more dazzling appeal than the prosaically titled Things on a Iron Tray on the Floor 1929 in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. And what transcends the ordinary better than Kitchen Interior with its inner sparkle and outer light, delicacy of colours and balance of forms? In 1969 she said of her art, 'All form - landscape, interiors, still life, flowers, animals, people - has an inarticulate grace and beauty; painting to me is expressing this form in colour, colour vibrant with light - but containing this other, silent quality which is unconscious, and belongs to all things created.'3 Kitchen Interior reflects them all, uniting the interior with the exterior in a view through the window. For Tatlock-Miller, the interiors in her 1947 exhibition 'voice[d] something of Bonnard's song.'4

1. 'Grace C. Smith Exhibition', Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 1947, p. 9
2. Tatlock-Miller, H., 'Artist's Sunlit World', Sun, Sydney, 17 September 1947, p. 13, quoted in Bruce James, Grace Cossington Smith, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1990, p. 128
3. Statement by the artist in Mervyn Horton, Present Day Art in Australia, 1969, quoted in Daniel Thomas, Grace Cossington Smith, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1973, p. 6
4. Tatlock-Miller, op. cit., p. 128