Important Australian + International Fine Art
4 May 2022


(1917 - 1999)

printed cut-out cardboard shapes (Arnott's logos), glass bottles, dried (rye) grass, wire netting, weathered timber

44.0 x 75.0 x 22.0 cm

signed with initials and dated at base: R.G. ‘76

$40,000 – $60,000

Gallery A, Sydney
James Mollison, Melbourne, acquired from the above in 1976
Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
The Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers–Grundy Collection, acquired from the above in April 2006 (label attached verso)
Bonhams, Sydney, 26 June 2013, lot 25
Gould collection, Melbourne
Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney, 15 March 2017, lot 19 
Private collection, Sydney 


Rosalie Gascoigne: Assemblage, Gallery A, Sydney, 11 September – 2 October 1976, cat. 25
Survey 2: Rosalie Gascoigne, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 29 April – 4 June 1978, cat. 21
Blue Chip VIII: the collectors' exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 7 March – 1 April 2006, cat. 1 (illus. in exhibition catalogue p. 5 and cover)


Lindsay, R., Survey 2: Rosalie Gascoigne, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1978, pp. 2, 5 (illus.), 6
Kirk, M., 'Different Means to Similar Ends: Rosalie Gascoigne and Agnes Martin', Art and Australia, Fine Arts Press, Sydney, vol. 23, no. 4, Winter 1986, p. 513
Edquist, H., 'Material Matters – the Landscapes of Rosalie Gascoigne', Binocular, Sydney, no. 3, 1993, p. 1
MacDonald, V., Rosalie Gascoigne, Regaro, Sydney, 1998, p. 106
Eagle, M., From the Studio of Rosalie Gascoigne, Australian National University, Canberra, 2000, pp. 30 – 31 (illus.)
Rosalie Gascoigne: plain air, City Gallery Wellington and Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2004, p. 22 (illus.)
Fink, H., 'The Life of Things: Rosalie Gascoigne at Gallery A Sydney', Gallery A, Sydney, 1964 – 1983, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New South Wales, 2009, p. 163 
Gascoigne, M., Rosalie Gascoigne. A Catalogue Raisonné, ANU Press, Canberra, 2019, cat. 084, pp. 54, 91, 95 (illus.), 106, 111, 133, 164 (illus.), 317, 320 

Catalogue text

Jim’s Picnic, 1975, like many great artworks, was born of a perfect storm of personal artistic evolution and national cultural circumstance. Newly arrived in Deakin, Rosalie Gascoigne embarked on an Ikebana course from the modern Sogetsu School. For Gascoigne, this disciplined artistic practice gave new purpose and direction to her habit of foraging for materials in the landscape.1 It also stimulated Gascoigne’s growing involvement in the Canberran art scene, introducing her to James ‘Jim’ Mollison, who had also recently arrived in the capital to assist with the development of the national art collection, under the political tutelage of Gough Whitlam. 

A rare instance within Gascoigne’s oeuvre of direct inspiration from a significant life event, Jim’s Picnic is an assemblage commemorating a bucolic escapade organised by Mollison for an international artistic delegation on the 16 April 1975. The artist spoke of this artwork in a lecture at the Canberra School of Art in 1985: 

‘This one is called Jim’s Picnic. It was about a picnic and it was meant to be impractical, it was a windy day on top of a mountain. The wire netting I have used is a pretty sort of netting. It gives a good visual reading; in feel, it is mountain air. I was enclosing air with those spaces. The grass stuck in the bottles is as ephemeral as you can get, and it was to show this awful – it wasn’t awful, it was a marvellous impractical picnic with the clouds coming over, the kangaroos hopping up and down. The kangaroos are the parrots, if you can bear the transition, but that was the life element in it and it was to capture the actual event.’2

Jim’s Picnic is a delicate sculpture that encapsulates several key aspects of Gascoigne’s artistic practice: the use of found objects to translate visual and cultural realities, the impetus to capture ephemeral meteorological and geographical phenomena, and the self-assured arrangement of these items into an aesthetic composition. A particularly endearing aspect of this work is Gascoigne’s flight of imagination in transposing the bounding figures of kangaroos into the iconic parrots of the Australian Arnott’s biscuits.3 Exhibited in Gascoigne’s radical first solo exhibition at Gallery A, Sydney, in 1976, Jim’s Picnic was purchased by James Mollison, for whom it was named, and remained within his personal collection throughout his tenure as Director of the Australian National Gallery. 

1. Gellatly, K., ‘Rosalie Gascoigne: Making Poetry of the Commonplace’, Rosalie Gascoigne, Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, 2009, pp. 12 – 13 
2. Rosalie Gascoigne, Illustrated lecture to students at Canberra School of Art, 21 August 1985, cited in Gascoigne, M., Rosalie Gascoigne. A Catalogue Raisonné, ANU Press, Canberra, 2019, p. 164 
3. ibid., p. 95