AUTUMN, 1989

Important Australian + International Fine Art
14 September 2022


(1917 - 1999)
AUTUMN, 1989

painted and stencilled sawn wood from discarded soft drink crates on plywood backing

92.0 x 83.5 cm

signed, dated and inscribed with title verso: AUTUMN 1989 / Rosalie Gascoigne

$180,000 – $240,000
Sold for $220,909 (inc. BP) in Auction 71 - 14 September 2022, Sydney

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
The Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers-Grundy Collection, acquired from the above in 1989


Rosalie Gascoigne, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 31 October - 18 November 1989, cat. 15


McDonald, V., Rosalie Gascoigne, Regaro Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1998, p. 106
Gascoigne, M., Rosalie Gascoigne. A Catalogue Raisonné, ANU Press, Canberra, 2019, cat. 346, pp. 236 (illus.), 332

Catalogue text

Rosalie Gascoigne first used the planks of found soft-drink crates in her work in the late 1970s, employing the wooden boards of brands such as Tarax, Crystal, Swing, and most notably, the distinctive daisy-yellow of Schweppes, in elegant compositions that lyrically evoked the Australian bush. Gascoigne was initially dependent upon finding this ‘new’ material in the various dumps that she haunted on the outskirts of Canberra, but soft-drink crates were to become something of a signature material after she discovered them in abundance in a depot at Queanbeyan, where discarded crates could be bought by the truckload. As a result of the artist’s maxim, ‘See a lot, take a lot’1, her frequently replenished stockpile allowed an ongoing dialogue with this material that was to extend over many years. Gascoigne soon progressed from working with larger boards to splitting or sawing the planks into strips or small squares, before moving, as she has in Autumn, 1989 to assembling panels of these strips before gluing them to backing boards. The sense of movement that these component parts enabled, and the ability to try things out three-dimensionally, was an essential part of her act of making, as she never sketched or pre-planned anything on paper. As Gascoigne’s studio assistant, artist Peter Vandermark has commented: ‘Her hands were always moving things around, her eyes always assessing the arrangements her hands made. She’d say her art was seeing, watching and trying out...’2
Despite Gascoigne’s self-proclaimed role as a ‘regional artist’, few of her works respond directly to a particular place or experience and instead conjure the sensations or essence of being in the landscape. Gascoigne’s ‘place’ – the Canberra/Monaro region, is instead the starting point for works whose associative and experiential possibilities reverberate beyond her immediate environment and come to evoke the Australian landscape more broadly. The title of her works also play an important role, as Gascoigne never named a piece until it was finished; giving herself time to sit with her art and encouraging a piece to ‘work on’ her, before endowing it with a name. As a result, the intrinsic connection between the work and its name – which often reflects her love and knowledge of Romantic poetry – creates an active and participatory role for the viewer who is given a starting point, but then left to infer, imagine and experience an individual and necessarily personal response. In many ways, it is within this space of discovery and re-discovery, of shifting moods and associations, that the power of Gascoigne’s work lies.
The jostling squares of Autumn – with its bleached and weathered slithers of burnished yellow and red, capture the season at its most majestic, as the leaves change colour and fall from the trees, creating a carpet of amber upon the ground. We can almost feel and hear the rustling of our feet moving through piles of leaves. Yet to experience Gascoigne’s Autumn is to also come to understand the transience of nature, and of life, as captured in a poem she likely knew – Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay (1923): ‘Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. / Her early leaf’s a flower; / But only so an hour. / Then leaf subsides to leaf. / So Eden sank to grief, / So dawn goes down to day. / Nothing gold can stay.’3
1. Gascoigne mentioned the importance of this approach to her practice in various interviews throughout her career, first stating in 1972: ‘…If it looks good to me, I keep it. I never bother at the time what I am going to do with it. I take it home and store it on exposed shelves in the garden. It may or may not come good for me. I like to have a lot of stuff to look at.’ Artist statement in Bottrell, F., The Artist Craftsman in Australia, Jack Pollard, Crows Nest, New South Wales, 1972, p. 39
2. ‘Peter Vandermark and Marie Hagerty in Conversation with Mary Eagle’ in Eagle, M., From the Studio of Rosalie Gascoigne, The Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, 2000, p. 20
3. Frost, R., Nothing Gold Can Stay, ‘Poetry Foundation’,, accessed 15 August 2022\