SAND DUNES, c.1933-36

Important Australian + International Fine Art
17 November 2010

Grace Cossington Smith

(1892 - 1984)
SAND DUNES, c.1933-36

oil on cardboard

35.0 x 42.5 cm

Sold for $20,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 18 - 17 November 2010, Sydney

Robyn Brady Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1989
Private collection, London

Catalogue text

Grace Cossington Smith's paintings of the sea and beach provide an exclusive and very special group within her oeuvre. The earlier examples date from 1931 when the artist and her sisters visited the seaside town of Thirroul, south of Sydney. While the occasion was a sad one - their father took them south after the death of their mother - the resultant paintings express a peace and calm that is palpable. This is felt in the rhythms of the waves, meditative in their gentle, repetitive movements, and the opalescent skies of Sea Wave (Sea) and Bulli Pier, South Coast (also known as Thirroul Pier), both in private collections. The overall feeling is one of harmony, of reconciliation with life through nature. In his monogram on Cossington Smith, Bruce James wrote, 'Sea Wave is one of the greatest images of Australian art, a work in which sublimity of purpose and mastery of execution create an infallible ideogram of assuaged sorrow.'1 While the subject of the beach has a long and fascinating history in Australian art, neither the paintings of Charles Conder, Arthur Streeton, Charles Meere nor Brett Whiteley achieve the peace that is found in those by Cossington Smith.

1. James, B., Grace Cossington Smith, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1990, p. 87